What are the best new irons for hitting longer distances?

Irons that carry miles but still stop quickly on the green.

There is more to choosing the best golf irons 2023 than just distance, but many golfers still want to boost their yardages, and the right set of irons can do just that.

Every year, Today’s Golfer undertake a huge test of all the latest irons from every manufacturer, gathering data on a launch monitor to see how each model compares in performance terms. That enables us to pinpoint which irons offer the maximum distance.

Carry vs. total distance

It’s important to differentiate between carry and total distance when it comes to looking at iron yardages. Carry is how far the ball travels through the air before landing, while total distance includes any subsequent bounces and rollout. How far the ball travels after landing is subject to myriad variables, including how soft or firm the greens are, so it’s better to look at carry distance as a more reliable metric with used golf drivers

Longest irons of 2023

The Srixon ZX4 MKII and Wilson Dynapower are the best irons for golfers wanting to hit longer distances, with both models producing a carry distance of 197 yards with a 7-iron.

Both irons also proved very forgiving, with just a five- and nine-yard drop-off in carry distance respectively when shots weren’t hit from the middle of the face.

That level of forgiveness is key to ensuring your mishit shots still get somewhere close to your intended target, rather than falling way short into a greenside bunker or, worse, a water hazard. Some irons in the test saw a drop-off of as much as 16 yards, and that was when tested by a pro; an amateur with more extreme mishits would likely see an even bigger drop-off.

The next longest irons in the test were the Callaway Paradym X, PXG 0311 XP GEN5, and Callaway Rogue ST Max, all registering 194 yards of carry with a 7-iron.

Given that the same pro averaged just 164 yards of carry with some of the other irons in the test, it’s clear to see just how much extra distance certain irons can offer.

Strong lofts

Traditionalists may argue that these irons, and others like them, only generate such impressive distances due to their very strong lofts. The Srixon ZX4 MKII 7-iron has a loft of 28.5°, while the other models mentioned are all 27° or 27.5°. A classic 7-iron would have 34° or 35° or loft, making these models more akin to a traditional 5-iron.

However, it’s not quite as simple as that. These modern iron designs feature fast-face, hollow-body heads, with a low center or gravity – all of which combine to launch shots higher. By then reducing the loft, manufacturers are able to create a 7-iron with the ball speed and distance of a 6-iron, but with the height and stopping power of an 8-iron, so golfers get the best of both worlds.

You do need to ensure that your shots are landing with a steep enough descent angle to hold greens, but a good custom fitter will be able to find the perfect setup to maximize distance without compromising on stopping power.

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