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Golf Novice? Try the Best Max Game-Improvement Clubs

With these five clubs, you can literally buy birdies.


Max game-improvement clubs are popular because they cater to the handicap set that most of us fall into — the double digits. They are for the golfers that aren’t hitting the tour anytime soon, but still hope to up their game.

Just like a great car in the hands of an average driver, a good set of max game improvement clubs takes the available technology and makes you better than you should be. This season’s selection is no exception, with an array of irons that utilize the latest materials and technology to help you shoot lower and keep you from wrapping your 5-iron around a tree.

Adams Idea Tech

Best for Slow Swing Speeds: If you’re not the big, powerful member of your foursome and your swing speed isn’t breaking records, then the Idea Tech is for you. The clubs help you get farther down the fairway, and also keep you straighter on the miss hits. They’re remarkably forgiving, thanks to a sole slot that wraps around the toe for more flex and better distance even when contact is off center. Though they’re not as precise on the greens as some of the other clubs in this group, Idea Techs do give great trajectory. They’re well weighted and remarkably stable from backswing to followthrough.

Buy Now: $707 (steel)

Mizuno JPX-850

Best for Mid Handicappers: Mizuno is making waves in both the game improvement and max game improvement areas. The new JPX-850s qualify as the best max game-improvement irons this season, thanks to a low center of gravity, superb trajectory control and excellent distance. The clubs are completely predictable on just about every hit. The off-center hits still maintain excellent distance, a huge max game-improvement plus. The JPX-850s doesn’t provide huge forgiveness, but they’re top notch for shots from the rough and approach shots, thanks to the dual relief sole.

Buy Now: $800 (steel)

Cleveland CG Black

Best for Low-Trajectory Hitters: Like the Idea Tech clubs, these lightweight clubs will help those with lower clubhead speeds and provide higher trajectories for those who have trouble getting it up, especially when the lie of the ball is challenging. Mildly bad hits don’t suffer too much distance-wise, and dead-on hits provide the extended distance. The CG Blacks also reduce ball sidespin, thereby cutting down on slices. Don’t look for boatloads of forgiveness, but the feel is excellent, giving good feedback when making impact with the ball.

Buy Now: $600 (steel)

Cobra Fly-Z XL

Best for Improving the Draw: The Fly-Z XL is an iron that will help you seriously improve your draw shot, allowing you to shape that all-important swing and nail high distance shots with consistent yardage. The accuracy of the Fly-Z XL is its selling point, and even hits that aren’t precise do good work getting to your target. The swing is easy to manage thanks to a heavy clubhead and lower center of gravity, and the club provides good feedback even on off hits. Trajectory is high, so be mindful of the finesse needed for low hits.

Buy Now: $418 (graphite)

Nike Vapor Speed

Best in Distance and Forgiveness: These Nikes toe the line between max game improvement and game improvement, primarily because they don’t do much for sorely missed hits. Despite this, they are one of the best clubs due to the distance and feel. The Vapor Speeds are light (perhaps too light for some), due to hollow bodies with thin ridges that purportedly benefit energy transfer from club to ball for improved impact and distance. Expect good forgiveness from the Vapor Speeds on slightly missed shots, resulting in minimally diminished distances and good directional control.

Buy Now: $700 (steel)

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