Are you in the market to take your game to the next step? If you have some money set aside and want to fill your bag with some quality irons, you’re in the right place. Driving irons are an excellent club to add to your collection.
Read along as we explore what this type of golf club is, several of the best driving irons available on the market, a buyer’s guide, and frequently asked questions. That way, you can ensure you choose the suitable iron for your next game.
What Is a Driving Iron?
A driving (utility) iron is a type of club made for tee shots. Also, due to design choices,a driving iron often performs better than long irons, 5 wood, and fairway woods and serve as a better alternative when hitting from the tee.
To better illustrate a driving iron’s face cup, they’re smaller than hybrids. Meaning they’re not as easy to hit as a hybrid. Because of this, utility irons usually call for higher skill levels. Since these clubs require faster swing speeds, some can compare them to a 4 iron.
The following are some benefits of using a driving iron over different clubs:
- An iron feel. Due to the look and feel of these clubs, you’ll likely find confidence when setting up the ball.
- Obstacle management. Since these clubs sacrifice distance for accuracy, this tradeoff makes this iron ideal for navigating around obstacles. For example, on most courses, you’ll find trees everywhere. Driving irons are an excellent choice for navigating the ball through branches.
- Windy conditions. Since your shots with a driving iron hit low, your ball won’t go too high into the air and balloon. You want something that is easier to hit in windy conditions.
When Should I Use a Driving Iron?
Driving irons are the best clubs to use when you’re looking for a compromise between hybrids, long irons, and fairway woods clubs. A driving iron can make up for the downfalls of the previously mentioned while enhancing their advantages.
Due to the driving iron’s lower face angle and structure, they’ll help you fire away tee shots with improved accuracy. If it’s control of your ball that you’re after, opt for this type of club.
Because of the perks mentioned above, utility irons are—utility. Keep this in mind, though, while driving irons aren’t exclusively for better players. They enhance their game more than the likes of hybrid clubs.
These types of clubs are excellent for a myriad of situations. However, if it’s distance and a higher trajectory that you’re after, it might not be in your best interest to use this club. While some clubs we’ll cover later on accommodate these weaknesses, we still recommend diversifying your bag.
In short, if you’re under 14 clubs—the max the United States Golf Association (USGA) allows—add a driving iron to your bag when you want to sacrifice a longer distance for enhanced accuracy.
What Is the Best Driving Iron on the Market?
To improve your game, you’ll need to find the best driving irons to suit your needs. For example, if you’re looking for something to give you extra penetrating ball flight, you’ll want a different driving iron than if you’re looking for something more forgiving.
Read along as we cover some of the best utility irons available, what makes them unique, and a few of their perks.
There’s a reason the Z U85 club is the best driving iron on our list.
The Srixon Z U85 driving irons are for you elite players out there who need to take your game further with an aesthetically pleasing club. Combine its forged steel and hollow construction, and you’ll have an iron that chimes when you whack it. Better players out there will notice the difference in sound and feel whenever they smack a golf ball.
Srixon Z U85 driving irons aren’t the most forgiving driving irons on the market, but you’ll still get plenty of help getting the ball in the sky. Because of this, you’ll find that this club offers more control and a higher launch than many.
Srixon’s traditionally-styled club resembles long irons. Moreover, the Srixon Z U85 serves as the best driving iron for low handicappers.
- The hollow head design offers forgiveness, control, and higher launch
- Able to hit easier than a traditional long iron
- Available lofts are: 18, 20, 23, 26, and 29 degrees
While this club didn’t make our number one spot, it was almost neck and neck. Mizuno’s MP20 is a fantastic substitute to swap your hybrid- and long irons for. With a chunky head, you’ll find a lot more forgiveness from this club.
You’ll notice that this club’s full of perks that’ll boost your game. With the MP20 HBM’s internal pocket and tungsten weighting, you will enhance your ball’s speeds.
With this driving iron’s hollow-bodied shell, you’ll notice a boost to your speed, power, and launch, similar to what you would see with a long iron. Moreover, Mizuno manufactured the MP20 HMB with carbon steel along with copper and nickel chrome layering. Because of this, you’ll notice an overall difference in the feel of this club.
- It has three loft options; 16, 19, and 22 degrees
- Easy to hit due to its head size
- Low center of gravity (CG) enhances ball flight
Inside the clubhead, you’ll find Taylormade’s unique SpeedFoam technology. It’s an ultralight polyurethane-foam filling that doesn’t only enhance your club’s speed and forgiveness but also commands attention with its breathtaking aesthetics.
The GAPR MID also allows you to adjust the loft sleeve to have better control over your trajectory.
In addition to the MID model, the GAPR driving iron also comes in LO and HIGH versions. The LO is the 2 iron version of this model, and the HIGH is the
- SpeedFoam technology for more ball speed
- Iron face and a wide sole
- Adjustable loft sleeve to ignore turf interaction
When taking a SIM DHY to the field, you might consider this club more of a driving hybrid than a utility iron. Because of this iron’s hollow construction and wide sole, you’ll find your ball a lot easier to hit.
TaylorMade manufactured this club with an ultra-thin forged C300 face. Identical Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) used in their longer clubs in the SIM collection. Due to the implementation of ICT, the SIM DHY has a more prominent sweet spot. Thus, maintaining consistency in straighter ball flights and increased forgiveness.
Though most of these driving irons are for low- and mid-handicappers, TaylorMade’s SIM DHY stands out by offering high handicappers a viable club. If you’re a mid handicapper, this iron can still accommodate your goals.
Because of all the perks, this iron is suitable for beginners who are comfortable forking over a little more investment initially. Moreover, you can use this for a multitude of lies, further improving its flexibility, especially as a long iron replacement.
- A fantastic long iron replacement for beginners
- The hollow body leads to lower CG and makes it easier to launch shots
- Higher trajectory than other utility clubs on the market
Because the Cobra King utility club has tungsten weighting and a hollow body gives this driving iron a higher launch. Moreover, Cobra’s design choices help counteract the weight of the hosel. Because of this, the golf club can evenly distribute its weight across the face.
With this utility iron, they’ve given you a myriad of adjustability options to optimize your trajectory.
If you need a different club for your bag, you can also find the Cobra King driving iron as a 3/4- or 2/3 iron.
- PowerShell face expands the sweet spot and feels great
- Tungsten weight boosts speed and enhances forgiveness and precision
- Longer than a majority of hybrids
The P790 UDI’s forged hollow design and tungsten weighting will significantly enhance your distance and forgiveness. Pair that with this utility club’s SpeedFoam filling, and you’ll further improve your golf ball speed upon impact.
The P790’s UDI club gives off a compact look when behind the ball. If you miss this iron’s sweet spot, you’ll likely suffer from an immense loss of a lot of distance. Therefore, the P790 UDI driving iron is best for those with a swing speed of at least 100 miles per hour.
While TaylorMade designed this driving iron for penetrating trajectories, it’s not the best golf club to hit off the fairway.
- UDI’s forged iron positively impacts your distance
- Maximizes the coefficient of restitution
- Lower trajectory than other driving irons
Tour Edge’s Exotics CBX driving utility iron’s unique L-Cup Face Technology is full of its perks. Due to its shape, this club will consistently perform. Even on mishits, the Exotics CBX will boost your ball speed.
You might say this driving iron performs like a hybrid while delivering the perks of a utility club.
The Exotics CBX driving iron is a fantastic buy if you want your first club yet want low spins and launches that’ll give you penetrating stingers.
- Low launching and spinning
- Great off-center hits
The UDI in TaylorMade’s club stands for Ultimate Driving Iron. There’s a reason this collection of irons got that name.
The SIM UDI does what a driving iron should; it launches low and spins low. Because of these factors, your shots will also result in a piercing flight if you play your cards right.
Since the SIM UDI calls for higher swing speed, these are the best driving irons for low- and mid handicappers.
- Forgiving on off-center hits
- Ball flight depends on your skill cap
- Stronger piercing ball flight
The Callaway X Forged driving iron is a club designed for better players who need a reliable fairway finder on tight holes.
As you watch, you’ll see Callaway’s A.I. developed Flash Face technology in action as it boosts ball speed.
However, to achieve the speed this club is capable of, you will need to make sure you give the Callaway X Forged a good swing. On these well-struck shots, you will get a mid-low trajectory.
- Hollow construction leads to higher ball speed
- Minimal offset
- Wider sole and longer blade for more forgiveness
While this isn’t the best utility iron around, it’s excellent for beginners. If you’re looking for an affordable driving iron to add to your bag, the Ram Golf FX is a great club to start with.
The Ram Golf FX driving iron has a high moment of inertia (MOI) paired with a low CG to make the most of your launches. With this driving iron, you’ll find a lack of impact from mis-hits and longer distances because of how Ram designed their golf club.
- Low center of gravity
- High MOI—less punishment from off-center hits
- Excellent forgiveness
To better understand your situation when shopping for driving irons, you’ll need to understand what to look for.
Lofts and Distance
You’ll find most driving irons lofted between 16–19 degrees—an ideal range for scoring perfect stingers and a penetrating trajectory. Other than what we just mentioned, the following are also typical utility iron lofts:
- 2 iron: 17–19 degrees
- 3 iron: 19–22 degrees
- 4 iron: 22–25 degrees
Moreover, driving irons have lower loft angels. Because of this, driver irons will ideally result in lower launches that will go far and roll longer on the fairway.
If you already have 3 wood or 3- or 4 iron in your collection, driving irons will fill in the gap.
Driving irons are a little more oversized compared to most long irons that you’ll find. An average utility club has more offset and a thicker top club. If a sleek design is your preference, aim for a club that has a more compact look.
Ideally, you’ll want a driving iron that has a more prominent sweet spot. The larger the sweet spot, the more forgiveness.
When experimenting, you might notice that driving irons with a lower CG tend to be more forgiving than those that don’t.
Before you shop for the best driving irons on the market, you might want some questions answered to make an educated purchase. We’ll cover a few topics for those still dragging their feet when considering purchasing a brand new utility iron to up your game and diversify your bag.
Is a Driving Iron Worth It?
Utility irons are often easy to hit off the fairway compared to woods and hybrids. You’ll also notice more accuracy and better performance in windy conditions than any other old golf club. If you’re not a high handicapper, driving irons are worth the financial and time investment needed to improve your skill.
Can High Handicappers Use Driving Irons?
Because of the utility iron’s slower speeds, this type of golf club is harder to hit. Therefore, these irons aren’t ideal for high handicappers, but they’re more suitable for mid-handicap and low handicappers. If your swing speed isn’t consistently above 90 miles per hour, then hybrid and standard irons are more up your alley.
How Far Should I Hit a Driving Iron?
First off, everything boils down to the type of loft that you chose for your club. Once you put that together, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you’ll find the driving irons’ distance is around 10–15 yards shorter than a typical 3-wood.
When playing the ball, you should ensure that it’s closer to your front foot. Keep in mind not to break your wrists when swinging. During your backswing, pull the iron back a couple of feet before initiating your swing.