It’s a new year and you are looking to improve your game. The only way to really improve your game is to practice… a lot. There is no substitute. Period. However, it certainly can’t hurt to get yourself some new irons too. Whether you’re buying your first set and price is not a factor, or you are looking to upgrade, you have come to the right place. For this buyer guide we have hand-picked the best golf irons under $1000 for 2019.
Choosing the Right Irons for Your Game
Iron play in golf is crucial. Most iron shots (also refered to as approach shots) are played from 200 yards in, and the results of those shots often determine how well you score. If you miss the green, or hit your approach shot into a bunker, the difficulty of shooting par increases. You get the idea.
Golf is expensive. At its core, it is a gentleman’s game and a leisure sport. Having an iron set that fits your style and meets your performance expectations, while also not breaking the bank is essential.
We examined the iron sets from the top brands that are priced in the $500-$1000 price range. The irons that are included are neither beginner’s sets nor the brands most highly toted featured model for 2019. They are intended for Mid-Handicap Players looking for the best combination of performance and price.
What is an Iron Set?
For the best golf irons under $1000 we are focusing on the standard iron set. A standard iron set includes 7 clubs, typically 4-iron through 9-iron, and a pitching wedge (4-PW).
Today, in my opinion, there are almost too many options that are available for irons. You can buy irons individually, as well as, choosing to include extra clubs to the standard set, such as a 3-iron, or wedges of various lofts.
To keep it consistent, we are sticking with the standard 4-PW set for the best iron sets under $1000 for 2019.
Ranking the Best Golf Irons Under $1000
In order to rank the best iron sets under $1000 and compare them to one another, we chose 6 criteria deemed most important for iron play.
Based on our testing of each set, as well as examining reviews from around the internet, we gave the individual criteria a rating of 1-10 for each club (10 being the best).
Then we give each iron set an Overall Rating (1-10). *Note: All iron sets, regardless of debut year, are still offered by each brand. In other words, they have not been phased out by newer models. They are still offered in factory brand new condition by retailers.
Best Golf Irons Under $1000
The parameters are outlined and the criteria is defined. Let’s take a look at the best golf irons under $1000 for 2019. The chart below shows the comparison between the criteria rankings for the top iron sets. Below that is an in-depth analysis of each iron set, highlighting key features and technology, as well as, the pros and cons.
Comparison: Best Irons Under $1000
|1. Callaway Rogue||9.3||10||9.0||9.2||9.6||$899||9.6|
|2. Ping i210||9.4||9.3||9.2||9.2||9.0||$875||9.4|
|3. Titleist 718 AP1||9.0||9.1||9.5||9.6||9.2||$875||9.2|
|4. Cobra King F8||9.2||9.1||9.2||9.2||9.3||$699||9.1|
|5. Cleveland Launcher CBX||9.2||9.0||9.6||9.1||8.8||$914||8.9|
|6. TaylorMade M1||9.3||9.1||8.9||8.9||8.8||$699||8.8|
1. Callaway Golf 2018 Rogue Irons Review
Callaway’s Rogue Irons are another improvement in the brands’ great history of making professional quality, reliable irons, for players of all skill levels.
The Callaway Rogue Irons were certified “Gold” on Golf Digest’s 2018 Hot List. This is no fluke. They are our top pick for the best irons under $1000 in 2019. An incredible combination of technology and quality made the Rogue’s the best irons in the declared price range.
Rogue Irons Key Features
- 360 Face Cup Technology
- Variable Face Thickness (VFT)
- Tungsten Weighting System
- Available Options:
- Shaft: Stock Steel or Graphite, Custom Steel or Graphite, Regular or Stiff
- Grips: 100 choices
- Lofts: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, AW, SW, LW
Packed with Technology
The Callaway Rogue Irons main feature is the 360 Face Cup Technology. The Face Cup is an internal flexible rim around in the outside of the club face. Combined with the VFT and optimized weighting, the club face “flexes and releases” on impact resulting in explosive feel and greater distance.
The Rogue Irons added an extra 10-15 yards of distance on each club and are without a doubt the longest playing irons in this buyer’s guide.
Not so “Rogue” Feel
With all the added distance you kind of get idea of where Callaway came up with the name Rogue. Rogue sounds a little daunting when it comes to feel and accuracy, but don’t let it fool you.
The precision of the tungsten weights are noticeable on the first swing. The balance is perfect. They have that feel you look for in a Scotty Cameron putter, but in an iron. The weights create more club head speed with a more relaxed swing. That relaxed swing lead to better contact and more consistent and accurate shots.
Our Top Pick
You are getting everything that you pay for with the Callaway Rogue Irons. The quality and feel coupled with tour grade performance will make the Rogue’s the best irons you have ever owned. Available for $599.99 for the standard set.
2. Ping Golf 2018 i210 Irons Review
The Ping i210 Irons are overlooked in our opinion and it may surprise you they are ranked at #2 on our list. Ping is not the flashiest brand in golf. The look of the i210 Irons are rather plain. No shiny medallion on the backside of the club face like the Callaway Rogue, but sometimes simple works in your favor.
At the end of the day irons aren’t rated by looks. They are rated by feel and performance. In our opinion the Ping i210 Irons are just as good, if not better, than the competition.
Ping i210 Key Features
- Clean and Compact Look
- Large Elastomer Insert for Soft Contact & Increased Control
- Precision CNC-Machined Grooves
- Available Options:
- Stock Shaft: Dynamic Gold 120 Steel or Alta CB Graphite
- Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
- Lofts: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, UW (Utility)
As I mentioned before, the Ping i210 Irons do not pop out at you if you put them side by side to the other irons in this buyer’s guide. They are built with the player in mind, focusing on both control and finesse. What stood out to us was the spin around the greens. CNC-Machined grooves in the pitching wedge and utility wedge are shifted closer together than the other irons giving you that extra “stick” around the dance floor.
In addition to the superior control, the elastomer insert on the Ping i210’s lives up to the hype. Ping claims that the insert is both 30% larger, and 50% softer, than the elastomer insert on earlier models. Regardless of the numbers, the forgiveness is superb.
Similar to Callaway’s Face Cup Technology, the elastomer insert compresses on impact, and transfers more energy to the golf ball, resulting in greater distances. I saw an extra 5 yards added to each club (150 yards with a typical 8-iron, 155 with the Ping i210s).
A Close Second
Though rather plain, Ping absolutely delivers with the i210s. No flash. No Fuss. Just a quality product that works for the player. I even have to admit that the classic, clean look started to grow on me. After learning that Ping’s HydroPearl Chrome 2.0 finish repels water, giving you more consistency out of the wet rough, I started to like it even more.
The Pings might not be getting all the oohs and aahs in the parking lot, but it’s what happens on the course that matters. Don’t overlook the Ping i210 Irons. They might just be exactly what you need. Available for $874.99 for the standard set.
3. Titleist Golf 718 AP1 Irons Review
Designed for mid to high-handicap players, the Titleist 718 AP1’s everything you’ve come to expect from a Titleist Iron. You get the distance. The forgiveness. You hit more greens. You have more fun. At the end of the day that’s what it is all about.
Titleist AP1 Key Features
- Progressive Set: Hollow-Body and Cavity Back Combo
- High Density Tungsten (55g) = Lower Center of Gravity (CG)
- Thin, Fast Face
- Available Options:
- Stock Shaft: True Temper AMT Red (Steel), Mitsubishi Tensei Red (graphite)
- Flex: Regular, Senior, Stiff
- Lofts: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, Wedge 1 (48 degree), Gap Wedge (GW)
Forgiveness and Accuracy
The AP1’s set out to make the game more fun and hit more greens. After trying them, we can attest that they are definitely straighter. The weighting of these irons just feels “right”.
The tungsten weighting keeps you balanced on contact, leading to a straighter shot. On off-center hits we noticed a difference as well. The misses were not nearly as big, even when the swing wasn’t our best.
Hollow-Body and Cavity Back
The AP1’s gave us some added distance, but nothing out of the ordinary. Typically 3 to 4 yards on each club. Being a “Progressive Set” as Titleist calls it, not every club has the same inner workings. The longer irons (4 and 5) are completely hollow, as compared to the 6, 7, 8, 9, and PW, which feature a traditional undercut cavity structure.
The idea behind the progressive set is to consistently maximize carry distance throughout the set by creating a higher launch.
If you looking through this list and you have been Titleist through and through, there is no need to read any further. The Titleist 718 AP1 Irons are an upgrade for the ages. The feel on impact is soft and pure.
Improvements in both forgiveness and distance will surely lead to better iron play. Looks in our opinion, though very subjective, are an upgrade as well. Clean and sharp! Available for $874.99 for the standard set.
4. Cobra Golf King F8 Irons Review
One review we came across for the Cobra King F8 Irons said that they were “flattering, too flattering in some cases”. We completely agree. The F8’s excel in all areas including feel, trajectory, distance, and have notably good looks.
Personally, I have been a fan of Cobra Irons for a long time. I played Cobra F & Ps for over 10 years through my teens and early 20’s. Since then I’ve had trouble straying away from Cobra due to the guilt of switching brands (personal issue), but I refuse to be biased for the sake of this buyer’s guide.
Cobra King F8 Key Features
- Cobra Connect/ Arccos 360 Smart Set
- PWRSHELL (Power Shell) Face Design
- Carbon Feel Technology
- Available Options:
- *Only Available with a steel shaft, regular or stiff
- Lofts: Standard set includes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, GW. 4-iron and Lob Wedge (LW) available separately
Fully Optimized Performance
Though they dont’ call it a “progressive” set like Titleist, the Cobra F8’s have similar characteristics as the AP1’s, and are even more finely tuned for performance. The 4 through 7-iron are full hollow irons with a carbon fiber medallion on the backside to dampen vibration on the long iron shots.
A more traditional cavity back design is used on the 8,9, and PW. Instead of the medallion there is a two-piece carbon fiber insert on the short irons. This two-piece design makes contact softer and increases accuracy. Who wouldn’t want more accuracy from 150 in?
Finally, the gap wedge, which is included in the standard set, has a smaller single piece insert for precision around the green. The F8’s CNC-machined grooves are also tailored differently for each the long, mid, and short irons, producing optimal spin for each specific shot.
Smarter Irons than the Rest
Cobra’s PWRSHELL face construction gives you driver-like speed and forgiving accuracy. The F8’s are a pleasure to swing. Perfectly balanced, fast, and soft, yet explosive, on impact. Thought true, most irons these days have similar attributes, but what sets the Cobra King F8’s apart from the others?
The feature that I really dig is the Cobra Connect. Cobra Connect turns the F8’s into smart clubs. Electronic sensors from Arccos, are embedded in the grips of each iron. These sensors record every aspect of your game and compile the data into an easy to use Arccos 360 app on your smart phone.
This is game changing. The ability to track the distances of your shots with the GPS feature you can pick the right club more often. This is huge for someone like myself in particular. I’ve never been great at eyeballing distances from sprinkler heads and 150 stakes.
Cobra advertises that players have improved their handicaps 36.4 times faster using Cobra Connect. Not sure how that number is derived, but its promising to say the least.
Our Other Top Pick
I said I would be refused to be biased, and I tried my best. Though they are 4th on this list based on the selected criteria (All of these irons are excellent), the Cobra King F8 Irons are spectacular in my personal semi-biased opinion.
Cobra designed the F8’s for 5-25 handicap players, and they deliver on all fronts. Throw the Cobra Connect in there (comes standard in the set), and you got tour quality irons with the most advanced analytic system ever put in consumer iron set. The price is also for the win at $599.99 for the standard set!
5. Cleveland Golf Launcher CBX Irons Review
Like the Callaway Rogue’s, Cleveland’s Launcher CBX Irons were also certified “Gold” on Golf Digest’s 2018 Hot List. With a perfect 5/5 customer rating on the Official Cleveland site, its obvious Cleveland Golf wasn’t messing around when they developed the Launcher CBX Irons.
Typically known for their wedges, Cleveland delivers an excellent set of irons with the Launcher CBX’s. They remind us a lot of the Ping 210’s due to their clean look and workability.
Cleveland Launcher CBX Key Features
- Tour Zip Grooves & Laser Milling
- Dual V-Sole Grinds
- Feel-Balancing Technology
- Available Options:
- Shaft: Steel True Temper DST 98 or graphite; regular, stiff, senior
- Lofts: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, DW
Tour Grade Control
The hallmark feature of the CBX’s is the Tour Zip Grooves. Laser Milling between the grooves increases friction on impact between the ball and the club face, producing wedge-like spin.
The enhanced spin is noticeable. I do not get a lot of backspin on longer iron shots (if they hit the green), but I would say I was getting 20% more backspin, and not just the usual one hop and stick. Very impressive to say the least. Of all the irons in this list these stood out in terms of control and accuracy.
Best Golf Irons Under $1000: Sleeper Pick
To be honest the Cleveland Launcher CBX Irons snuck up on us. I’ve always been accustomed to using Cleveland wedges and fairway woods that I never gave much though to trying out their irons. Well the Launcher CBX’s made sure that I won’t make that mistake again.
6. TaylorMade Golf M1 Irons Review
As we said before all of these iron sets in this buyer guide are excellent, and all will improve your game in some aspect. The TaylorMade M1’s are last on the list but certainly not least.
The only that’s really working against the M1’s, in comparison to the other irons, is the relatively outdated technology. They were debut in 2017 while the other 5 irons in our guide were released in 2018. Nonetheless they are still packed with technology that yields increased forgiveness, as well as, playability.
TaylorMade M1 Irons Key Features
- Speed Pocket Technology
- Geoacoustic Engineering
- Available Options:
- Stock Shaft: True Temper’s popular XP95 steel or MRC Kuro Kage Silver graphite
- Lofts: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, PW, Approach Wedge (AW)
Consistency is Key
The Speed Pocket Technology by TaylorMade revolves around the same idea as Callaway’s 360 Face Cup, as well as, Ping’s Elastomer insert. Flexible boundaries around the outside of the club face that increases ball speed and dampens vibrations. This combination results in longer, more forgiving shots.
TaylorMade’s goal with the M1 was to make it sleeker and more compact than the TaylorMade M2. It succeeded. The overall club head size is smaller than the other irons. We think it looks much better than the M2. Depending on your preference of course, but the smaller club face gave me that feeling that you have more control.
The Geoacoustic technology also dampens the vibrations and reduces long durations sounds. The sound on impact is crisp and clean. The forgiveness is superb as well. Consistency is key in golf and even on off-center hits I still got above average results in both distance and accuracy.
The quality in all TaylorMade clubs is top of the line. The M1 Irons are no different. Other than maybe being slightly outdated, TaylorMade still lists them on their official product line so they still believe they are worth it and so should you. Being an older model also does good on the price! Available for $699.99 for the standard set.
Best Golf Irons Under $1000 Recap
There you have it. The best irons under $1000 from 2019. We do our best to focus on each models strong suits and what they have that allows them to perform better than the competition. Truth is they are all fantastic irons. You really cannot go wrong. That is why they made the list after all!
Remember, just because it’s 2019 doesn’t necessarily mean that you need the 2019 models to get the best. As always, try before you buy!