There comes a time in every golfer’s life where they need to be true to themselves and acknowledge that they don’t quite have the attributes they once did.
Now don’t get me wrong, I write regularly about the need for every golfer to understand they aren’t as good as the pros and never will be.
But in your youth you can still swing out of your boots and occasionally hit that towering two-iron that makes you feel like Brooks Koepka, even if just for a second and despite the fact it was a fluke.
However, age can be a great humbler and unfortunately many senior golfers, despite an unwavering level of practice and commitment, may find that as they get older it’s just that bit harder to play some of the shots and find the distances they once did.
There’s no shame in admitting this, and I regularly see elderly golfers who embrace a shorter hitting, creative game-style still playing off single figures well into their seventies.
Just as it’s important to be fitted for the right clubs, as a senior it’s important to use clubs that are going to maximise your potential by being super forgiving, offer high launch and give you the best possible ball speed.
When factoring these elements in, I’ve conducted some extensive research and found the following irons to be the best for senior golfers:
- TaylorMade Sim Max 2 (my top pick)
- Cobra Radspeed
- Cleveland Launcher Turbo (most forgiving)
- Cobra T-Rail Combo
- Wilson Launchpad
I’ve kept this list short because if you want to look at the best irons for high handicappers (which, due to their similar characteristics are also suitable for seniors), you can view our other extensive article here.
But, ultimately, as you get older, your golf game isn’t going to be as explosive and hard hitting as it once was, with aches and pains combining with lessened muscle strength making it harder to play the game in the way you once did.
Thankfully, golf brands have realised the market for senior golfers is huge – many of them are retired and cashed up – and continue to invest considerable money into research and development to create golf clubs that suit senior golfers more and more.
If you’re a senior golfer with a slower swing speed that requires assistance to get the ball sailing into the air, now has never been a better time to find a set that will help you do just that.
Before we get straight into my top irons for seniors, let’s take a look at what separates senior clubs from regular golf clubs (if you want to skip straight down to the reviews, click here).
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What is the difference between regular golf clubs and senior golf clubs?
The main difference between regular golf clubs and senior golf clubs is shaft stiffness and weight. A ‘standard’ golfer will usually opt for a regular or stiff shaft that will weigh in at around 60 grams, whereas a senior golfer will be more inclined to go with a senior flex shaft that will weigh around 50 grams. There are also many game improvement irons out there that will help many senior golfers, but are not exclusively designed for them.
Ultimately, shaft stiffness and weight are designed for certain golfing attributes, rather than a particular player.
It just so happens that clubs (and shafts) designed for players with slow swing speeds that need assistance with launch are well suited to senior golfers, as these are an area where many older golfers need help.
There are also hybrid style sets and large, hollow-backed irons that will suit older golfers well and are considered less ‘traditional’, but by no means are they not also great clubs for many average golfers with a low-launching flight and slower swing speeds.
What is a good set of irons for a senior golfer?
Senior golfers benefit most from irons with a forgiving cavity back or game improvement style. These irons usually have a large, forgiving clubface; generate high launch with lower swing speeds; and maximise ball speed through the air. Irons with these characteristics are ideal for senior golfers.
Most senior golfers will struggle to play with a bladed or ‘players’ iron, given that they are smaller, less forgiving and require more swing speed to perform.
There are also a range of hybrid-style iron sets on the market that senior golfers may find suitable for their game.
Essentially, any iron that is designed to give a high level of assistance and forgiveness is going to be beneficial to the game of many senior golfers.
Given older golfers often have slower swing speeds, these are going to be the best option given they are designed to help as much as possible to increase distance and get the ball up into the air.
Take a look at a couple of the best options options below.
TaylorMade Sim Max 2
The TaylorMade Sim Max 2 irons are a great all-round game improvement option, designed with a speed bridge bar across the back of the club to assist in gaining speed and distance.
The thin face and inverted cone technology will also support a straight flight and optimum performance for off-centre hits.
This is useful for players with slower swing speeds, as sometimes a faster swing can help to level out/counteract poor contact.
Strong lofts will also assist in getting greater distance with each club.
The Radspeed irons from Cobra are another example of a game improvement iron with a profound cavity back and technology designed to aid performance.
Additional weight low in the club also helps to create a lower centre of gravity, helping to get the ball up in the air for a desirable flight.
The weight distribution in the heel and toe create the best combination of speed, stability and spin, something many senior golfers struggle with.
What are the most forgiving irons for seniors?
The most forgiving irons for senior golfers are hybrid style irons that combine the best features of irons and hybrids for ultimate game improvement. Senior golfers may also appreciate a split set, using hybrids up as high as a 7-iron before transitioning back into a more ‘traditional’ style of club. These sets move from large, hollow heads in the lower lofts to a more classic look in the higher lofts.
These hybrid style sets won’t be for everyone and any golf purist will probably choke on their breakfast just at the sight of these lofts, but they do provide some of the best forgiveness and assistance on the market for anyone, especially seniors.
As swing speed and accuracy decreases, the large, hollow backs to these clubs in the lower lofts provide great assistance in being able to lift the ball up into the air and get reasonable distance.
Check out three of the best options on the market below.
Cleveland Launcher Turbo
The hollow structure and stabilising internal ribs mean that the Cleveland Launcher Turbo irons offer great stability and forgiveness.
The large crown on the back and deep weighting produce an easy to hit, high ball flight – ideal for slower swing speeds.
The progressive hollow shaping provides a seamless transition from the hybrid-style long irons to the more ‘iron-like’ short irons, which still pack loads of forgiveness and help.
Cobra T-rail Combo Set
The Cobra T-rail Combo Set moves beautifully from full-blown hybrids in the longer clubs to extra chunky and supportive irons in the higher lofts.
The hollow split rails at the front of each club give the sole up to 70 percent more flex, leading to a higher ball flight and carry.
There is a lot going on in these clubs, but compared to other options they do feel a little more ‘traditional’ in style, especially when considering the hybrids at the lower end of the lofts are fairly standard in design.
Rather similar in appearance to the Cleveland Launcher Turbo, the Wilson Launchpad irons boast a hollow body for maximum speed and distance, as well as sole technology to help gain higher trajectory ball flights.
This model does seem to contain the stretched out back for longer than other sets, with the pitching wedge one of the chunkiest you are likely to find.
They are lightweight thanks to their graphite shafts – something that will give further assistance to senior golfers looking to up their swing speed for better performance.
What golf clubs should seniors carry?
As a general rule, seniors should carry a set of hybrids up to about a 6-hybrid, then transition into game improvement irons from a 7-iron onwards. The ‘hybrid’ style irons on the market with large, hollow bodies can be good options for many senior golfers. They should ensure all clubs are fitted with senior flexes and also give consideration to playing a range of high lofted woods, such as a 7-wood.
The reason for recommending woods and hybrids more so than 2 or 3 irons, or even driving irons, is essentially down to swing speed.
Older golfers will find it incredibly difficult to launch a long iron into the air with a slower swing, so they soon become pointless options if all they do is roll along the ground and fail to carry hazards.
High-lofted woods like 7-woods and 5-woods, as well as 3, 4 and 5 hybrids are designed to be higher launching, helpful clubs and will get up into the air more reliably than a long iron, making them great senior options.
Something like a Cobra Radspeed Fairway Wood in an 18.5 degree loft would be a perfect club off the tee or for approach shots into long par 4s.
When it comes to drivers, loft is your friend once again.
Lower-lofted, lower-spinning drivers are designed for the better golfer who swings the club fast and powerfully, using this pace to launch the ball high despite a loft as low as 9 degrees.
For older golfers with slower swing speeds, loft is a requirement to send the ball into the air since they don’t have the velocity to help them out in this area.
The Senior Men’s Majek High Launch Driver, while not a household name, is especially designed for the senior golfer, offering 12.5 degrees of loft and a light shaft.
In general, opting for a driver in a loft of 12 degrees or more with a light, senior flex shaft will usually be the best option for the senior golfer.
How far should a senior golfer hit a 7-iron?
Senior golfers will usually hit a 7-iron around 130 yards, depending on swing speed, club loft and technique. It would be perfectly reasonable to expect a senior golfer to hit the ball a lot shorter or farther than this distance, but most will find 130 yards a somewhat achievable distance.
This compares to the average middle-aged golfer who will hit a 7-iron about 150-160 yards.
Ultimately, its not so much about ability or strike, but mainly the speed with which younger and more senior golfers will swing the club.
However, age does not define you as a golfer and if you are fit and healthy, there’s no reason why you can’t still get it out there a reasonable distance.
Take the PGA Seniors Tour for example, where the average 7-iron distance is nearly 170 yards.
Most golfers would be happy with that distance, but don’t forget that seniors tour qualification kicks in at 50 years old.
Phil Mickelson won his first seniors event closely followed by the PGA Championship, so maybe you need to take that in consideration when being to quick to assume the seniors tour is purely made up of seasoned campaigners with pop-gun weaponry (as this clearly isn’t the case).
Who should use senior golf shafts?
Senior golf shafts should be used by anyone with an exceptionally slow swing speed, usually anything less than 90 miles per hour. Senior-flex golf shafts are by no mean exclusive to older golfers, they just get their name due to the fact that the majority of golfers who use them are of senior age.
Additionally, if you are struggling with height – especially off the tee – you may actually find a senior flex shaft helps you get the ball into the air.
Generally, a more flexible club shaft will increase spin and get the ball climbing into the sky, something I experienced when trialling a Wilson Launch Pad driver from my local pro who only had a demo in a senior flex option.
It ended up sending the ball way too high in the air and only went about 200 yards, but I got a real sense of how someone with a low ball flight could benefit from this ‘cheat code’ of moving to a highly flexible shaft.
Senior golf shafts can also be a really good option for younger golfers too (I’m talking children here), given that their lighter weight can be easier to swing and increased flex will suit what is probably going to be a lower swing speed.
Are lighter golf clubs better for seniors?
Yes, lighter clubs are better for seniors, but the weight is removed from the shaft, rather than the clubhead itself. Steel shafts can be weightier and slow down swing speed, something most senior golfers don’t want. This is why lighter, senior flex graphite shafts are the best and lightest option for senior golfers.
For example, these Grafalloy ProLaunch Shafts are a senior flex option weighing in at only 44 grams.
An extra stiff shaft for a higher swing speed player would likely be closer to 70 grams in weight, making a senior flex shaft a much more suitable option.
As for clubs themselves, senior golfers need to be careful getting into the habit of thinking that less weight in the clubhead is better, as having weight farther back in the head of a club like driver will help improve ball flight through a low centre of gravity.
Drivers with adjustable rear weights, like the Radspeed from Cobra, will give any golfer good options to play with, and if paired with a senior flex shaft will be a reliable weapon for any older golfer.
How far does the average 60-year-old hit a golf ball?
The average 60-year-old can be expected to hit the ball about 200 yards off the tee when using driver. As for a more mid-range club, they will probably hit a 7-iron somewhere between 130 and 140 yards. Like any golfer, it isn’t overly important how far a 60-year-old hits the ball, but more so having a strong understanding of their game and distances, as well as consistent numbers.
It can be expected that by the time somebody hits age 60 that their distance with each club will fall away a bit, but it doesn’t matter too much if you can’t hit the ball very far as accuracy and strategy are equally as important.
Just scour YouTube and you’ll find plenty of videos of good golfers scoring low with nothing more than a 7-iron, a club that won’t get off the tee as far as most senior golfers’ driver.
Senior golfers need to be careful getting sucked into the idea that any one type of iron is best as there are a huge amount of factors to consider, as there are for any player.
With lower swing speeds, irons with senior flex shafts are going to be a must, but what style a player goes for in their twilight years depends largely on preference, looks and needs.
Many players will find great features in the hybrid style sets out there that offer forgiveness, but if your game is strong and your striking sweet, a set of standard cavity backs will probably give you years of reliable play without looking out of place in anyone’s bag, young or old.
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