Having the right irons in your bag will make a profound difference to your game. With both muscle back and cavity back irons out there, it can get quite tough knowing which option is best for your own needs.
So, let’s check out the best muscle back irons out there on the market as there are a number to choose from, and making the right decision is going to be very important when it comes to helping you with your game.
Table of Contents
- 1. Best Overall - Wilson Staff Iron Set
- 2. Best Premium Set - Callaway Golf Apex Iron Set
- 3. Best for Consistency - TaylorMade P760 Iron Set
- 4. Best Mid-Range - Mizuno MP-18 Fli-Hi
- 5. Best for Beginner - Lazrus Premium Golf Irons
- Why Bother with Muscle Back Irons?
- What to Look for in MB Irons
- How to Choose for Yourself
- Modern MB Irons are Better Than Old
- Overall Conclusion
1. Best Overall - Wilson Staff Iron Set
Precision milling gives greater accuracy
Diamond scoreline pattern gives better control
Fluid feel hosel removes extra weight
Optimized sole camber means club won’t stick in the grass
This set of muscle back irons by Wilson is undoubtedly one of the best around, and it’s easy to see why as soon as you check them out. This may not be the first name you go for, but if that’s the case, then you are missing out.
The precision milling is an important feature here. It means there’s a real sense of consistency when you go through the different irons in the set, so they all react and feel the same. Also, the milling corrects some of the difficulties a novice player will often experience with MB irons.
The hosels also have more of a traditional design to them, and it also means there’s less weight being banded around through the club. This lightweight design is going to allow the club to fly through the air faster than before leading to more power mixed in with greater distances.
The shape of the sole camber is another area that can bolster your game. It is more rounded than others, so it’s going to slip through the grass with less friction. That will lead to a smoother shot without you having to force the club through.
Finally, the scoreline pattern and milling combined is going to lead to the club face being more open, and you do have greater control over your shot. This is going to include a large sweet spot should you mishit, and that sort of thing gives greater confidence.
Overall, what you get with this set is something that is well-balanced, easy to hit, and it also gives you some reasonable feedback with your shot.
This set is brilliant at what it does, and it manages to improve your game while still providing you with a real sense of control. Considering these are muscle backed irons, Wilson has done exceptionally well at producing a set that doesn’t even act like most of the MB irons out there, and that is something they should be applauded for.
It’s difficult to think of anything wrong with these clubs. That’s why we have selected it as the best overall when it comes to muscle back irons on the market. Also, that is why it gets full marks.
2. Best Premium Set - Callaway Golf Apex Iron Set
360 face cup included in set
Precision COG for optimum control and flight
Soft feel to the club
The Callaway Apex iron set is one of the best around for those individuals that prefer to have some forged irons in their bag. However, they still have an amazing amount of feel about them.
This feel comes from the inclusion of what Callaway refers to as urethane microspheres. These spheres will absorb vibration and reduce the lost energy that would then occur. It means the ball is going to have more power behind it, and that’s going to lead to better distances.
When it comes to the face, then it includes both their 360 Face Cup and VFT technology. This translates to better speed while it also gives you the ability to produce a certain amount of spin from the shot as well. That makes a huge difference when it comes to landing on the green.
The center of gravity is also placed in the perfect position to give you optimum control over the shot. It’s positioned to help get the ball up off the ground and into the air while you still have the ability to control the spin, if required.
These irons by Callaway are outstanding. They give you so much feedback from your shots while the technology makes it easier to get a clean strike while maintaining control of the shot itself.
If you are a regular player, then these irons could be a worthwhile addition to your bag simply because of the way they help you to learn more about each shot. However, Callaway tends to always come with a premium attached to it, but you do get premium clubs in return. In saying that, we will deduct half a point simply because of the price tag.
3. Best for Consistency - TaylorMade P760 Iron Set
Precision engineering means greater accuracy with shots
Speedfoam technology in the irons
Offers distance, stability, and accuracy with your shots
TaylorMade has been producing high-quality irons for a number of years, and this P760 set is no exception. It’s of a forged construction, but their aim is to make the clubs easy to use which makes them more in line with cavity backed irons.
The short irons come in one-piece, and that’s capable of providing you with sensational feel with each shot. That does mean you will have a better understanding of your shot selection to the green, and that makes a difference to your overall game.
Irons through 3 to 7 also come with their SpeedFoam technology, and while you may be disappointed at it only coming in those irons, it does mean you are covered for a range of shots.
The idea here is that you have an ultra-thin face which is then backed up by polyurethane foam. This gives a cushioning effect, reduces vibration, and it’s not going to have a negative impact on the speed. Actually, the impact it has will see you lose less energy with your shot, so you get greater distance.
But overall, this club is going to provide you with a real sense of stability and accuracy with your shots. It’s precision engineering in your bag, and that level of consistency is something you should really be looking for.
TaylorMade only ever produces quality clubs, and this iron set is following that history. They provide a real feel for the shot, and they are extremely consistent, which then reflects well on your own game.
However, as they are aimed more at the experienced golfer, they do lose half a point as those starting out in the game may feel excluded. In saying that, if you are an individual with a low handicap, then this may be the perfect set of irons for you.
4. Best Mid-Range - Mizuno MP-18 Fli-Hi
Optimized weighting included in iron
Fli-hi iron comes with 28 degree loft
Deep COG included in club
This iron is different in that we are talking about one single club here, but don’t let that put you off. What Mizuno has done here is create an iron that’s going to get you up out of trouble and still provide you with a huge amount of control over your shots.
What you get is an iron that comes with optimized weighting, and this has a number of real advantages.
Here, you have an iron that comes with a hollow body. Mizuno states that this will ensure the ball gets up off the ground, so that’s pretty useful. But that’s not the only advantage of a hollow body.
Instead, it’s also going to mean more powerful hits and better ball speed. It loses less energy when it’s being transferred from club to ball as well, so you get better distances.
Mizuno has also sunk the COG lower and deeper in this club, and this precision placement will improve the consistency factor. Add in a more open face, and what you have is an iron that will certainly be on your side.
Mizuno has done exceptionally well with this club. It is certainly one that people may overlook when it comes to muscle back irons. It’s going to be a useful addition to any bag, but be warned that your ability as a player is going to largely determine how much this club can change your game.
Due to this factor, we are going to deduct half a point, but apart from that, this club is brilliant. If you get a chance to check it out, then you will be surprised at the difference it could make.
5. Best for Beginner - Lazrus Premium Golf Irons
Designed for all skill levels
Deep grooves mean better performance on different lies
Available in different flexes
Suitable for seniors
This set of Lazrus irons claims to be suitable for players of all skill levels, and that may be a bit confusing at first. However, what we do know is that these clubs like to involve variety, and that may be the one thing that makes them stand out.
Available in left or right hand, as well as different flexes, you should feel quite at home playing a round with these irons in your bag.
The clubs themselves have deep grooves in their design. This is going to help move the club head through the grass even if you are finding yourself in some sort of trouble.
Thanks to these grooves, you will be in a position whereby you have a greater sense of control over the shot, as well as controlling the level of spin you can generate, and that applies even if you are in the deeper rough.
With this set, you get irons through 2 to 9, and that’s going to be sufficient for most players. They are made from steel, but the strange thing is that they don’t feel heavy like steel clubs. Instead, they are lighter than you would expect, and that does take some getting used to.
But the main reason for these muscle back irons to exist is their price. They are suitable for beginners, or those on a tight budget as they are substantially cheaper than almost everything else on the market.
In saying that, they do still perform well, but they do lack a lot of the technology that’s included in premium brands or tour level clubs. However, they won’t let you down as they do still offer a large sweet spot and are well balanced.
These irons don’t claim to do anything too special. However, they are a great way to introduce yourself to the concept of MB irons without breaking the bank. They perform well, are consistent with the strike, and as we already said, they are lighter than you would expect.
However, we do drop a point because of the lack of technology. They could have included just a little bit more, so they won’t be the best option for an experienced player. In saying that, they are ideal if on a budget or just starting out.
Why Bother with Muscle Back Irons?
The problem with muscle back irons is that people give them a hard time if you don’t have a low handicap, and that’s because of the changes that they will make to your game. However, the manufacturers have caught onto this, and newer versions on the market do take this into account.
People that are really against muscle back irons will claim that it means you lose distance and control over the ball. If that was all true, then why would anybody play with them?
The truth is as follows.
With a muscle back iron, you do have more opportunities to shape your shots. Yes, it does mean that an experienced golfer can play around with a draw or fade with their shot, and that’s a cool thing to do. However, there’s more to it than just that.
The old MB irons came from the original blade irons. Those guys offered little in the way of forgiveness for a mishit, but the modern MB irons do provide a larger sweet spot and a sense of correcting things if you hit off the middle.
Also, these irons give you an amazing feel. You will gain a superior understanding of your shots as soon as you hit them. You will know in advance if you have underhit, or if something is wrong with your stance.
It does this as the feedback is exceptional. Some feel that these clubs will make a difference when it comes to helping you improve your game as it does highlight mistakes you make, and they then allow you to look at improving them.
So, even a high handicap player will benefit as they can iron out those mistakes in next to no time.
What to Look for in MB Irons
So, when you are looking at buying MB irons, there are several things to check out.
The first thing you should search for is claims surrounding consistency. They did have a reputation of not being consistent, but like we said earlier, this has changed with more modern versions.
You are also wanting to find irons that don’t lose as much energy between the swing and connection. If you do lose energy here, then you will see a drop in your distance, but even though that was initially linked to MB irons in the past, this is also something that has changed.
Overall, you want feel, control over your shots, ease with which the ball gets up off the ground, and speed. If you find MB irons that cover all those bases, then you are onto a great thing.
How to Choose for Yourself
You need to take your own game into account when buying a set of irons. These clubs do come with various flexes, and that’s going to be key since its linked to your swing speed.
The best way to get the most out of these irons is to know where your own game is at. Yes, these clubs do often have a slightly smaller sweet spot than cavity irons, but that’s not always the case.
So, if you are very inconsistent with your shots, then it may be best to buy a single muscle back iron to add to your bag in order to test it out and see if it makes a difference.
Apart from that, pay attention to the technology and what it’s intended to do for your shot. Is there technology that helps to correct the draw or fade, if that’s what you tend to do naturally.
Also, pay attention to how well they play when you miss the fairway. If that’s something you tend to do on a regular basis, then having an understanding of how the club gets the ball up into the air even on a tough lie is important.
Modern MB Irons are Better Than Old
There’s little doubt that the modern muscle back iron is better than older versions. When they really first made some in-roads, they were largely seen as being for professionals, or those in single digits with their handicap, and it’s easy to see why.
But what the different companies realized was that they were missing out on a huge market by effectively eliminating the weekend player.
That has led to iron sets such as the Lazrus set mentioned earlier really coming to the fore. That allows players that aren’t pros to go ahead and enjoy the benefits of having greater feel over their shot.
But then, companies such as Callaway and TaylorMade are also bringing so much technology over to these clubs that it’s getting to the point where modern muscle backs are acting so much like cavity backs that it’s difficult to know the difference.
The days of muscle back irons leading to shorter distances are kind of over. Instead, the difference is minimal especially when you have premium brand clubs helping you out.
Out of the various sets covered above, the best has to be the Wilson Staff set. They are reasonably priced, and deliver everything you would want from a set of muscle back irons.
They will be suitable for players of all levels, and if you are looking at testing out what muscle back irons can do for your game, then this could be the perfect solution.
However, we should also mention the Lazrus set as well. They may not be the best out there, but the price of the entire set is brilliant for muscle backs, and they could be the ideal introduction to what is possible for those that are on a real budget.