Do Golf Irons Need Covers? When To Use Them And Why

Golf iron covers can be somewhat of a divisive topic among golfers – some players love them, while other players will sneer at anyone who uses them.

To a lot of golfers, iron covers can be seen as ‘uncool’, while others don’t care what people think and would much rather their irons be kept nice and secure inside their covers to avoid damage.

So, personal preferences aside, you’ve likely landed on this article because you want to know: do golf irons need covers?

Golf iron covers work extremely well to protect your irons from damage when in your bag. Each cover acts as a barrier to stop your irons banging against one other, which can prevent scratches or chips. While iron covers are not essential, they will add extra protection to your golf clubs at a modest price.

Without question, iron covers are extremely effective at protecting the heads of your irons – which is what they are designed to do.

Personally, I don’t use iron covers as having to take the covers off and on for every shot can be quite annoying and finicky, and the bulkiness of the covers means they take up far more room in my bag.

This can sometimes result in clubs getting ‘stuck’ when you’re trying to pull them out of the bag to take your shot, especially if you own rubber covers.

Furthermore, iron covers are notorious for slipping off during a round without you noticing – meaning you’ll often find yourself having to comb the fairways with your playing partners looking for the missing piece.

For me, those minor annoyances outweigh the benefits of stopping the occasional scratches or chips to my irons by putting covers on them.

But if you’re someone who has more patience than me and hates the thoughts of your irons getting knocked around or damaged, then iron covers are a perfect solution to your problem.

What is the purpose of iron covers?

Iron covers have two main purposes: firstly, to act as a barrier between your iron heads to prevent them from causing damage to one another; and secondly, to stop them ‘clanging’ together loudly during your round.

Because iron covers are made of rubber, synthetic leather or even cotton material, they do an excellent job of keeping your irons safe and secure – which is their number one purpose.

If you’re really protective of your clubs, you could try hitting shots while keeping your iron covers on, but as the guys from GM Golf have demonstrated below, that doesn’t tend to work very well…

Should you put covers on your irons?

Iron covers are far more beneficial for golfers who carry their clubs on their back in a carry bag, or drive a motorised cart – as opposed to golfers who carry their clubs in a push cart during a round.

The reason for this is your irons are far more likely to rattle against each other when using a carry bag, due to the up, down and sideways movement caused by your walking gait.

The same can be said for golfers who drive motorised carts, as the speed at which you are driving means your irons are more likely to move around a lot more and damage one another – especially when driving over bumpy, rough terrain while looking for strayed shots.

Golf push carts keep your irons far more stable as your walk the course, meaning players who use push carts – like me, with my trusty Bag Boy Compact 3 push cart – are far less likely to need iron covers to protect their clubs.

So, if you want better protection for your irons but don’t feel comfortable putting iron covers on them, a push cart could be another solution to your problem.

If you are thinking about purchasing a push cart, I’ve written a detailed review about why the Bag Boy Compact 3 – which I’ve been using for three years – is still the best option available today.

Should you put covers on your irons when travelling?

Arguably the most essential reason to purchase iron covers is if you’re planning an interstate or overseas golf trip that requires you to travel by plane.

Airport baggage handlers are notoriously careless when handling luggage, and the last thing you want is for your irons to be badly damaged en route to your destination.

Placing iron covers on your irons before checking them in for your flight will give them far greater protection and security from any bad baggage-handling practices – and could be the difference between your clubs arriving scratch-free, or not.

It also gives them greater protection when taking an Uber from the airport to your place of accommodation (you can read more detailed information about taking golf clubs in an Uber here).

For everything you need to know about flying with golf clubs, including baggage fees/restrictions, check out another article I wrote on that exact topic here.

I’d definitely recommend using iron covers on your clubs when travelling by plane.

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Do all golf irons come with head covers?

While some irons come with head covers at the time of purchase, the majority of them do not.

But if you’re keen on giving your clubs some extra protection, there are loads of different iron covers available online in various sizes, materials, shapes and colors to suit your personal preferences.

Are golf iron covers lame?

The answer to whether golf clubs are lame or not really is in the eye of the beholder.

One Reddit user described the use of iron covers akin to “putting a sock on a hammer – never feel sorry for the tools”, which I think sums up the feelings of most golfers who align themselves with the anti-cover camp.

Players who take this view will often frown upon golfers who use iron covers, mainly because they deem them to be unnecessary, fiddly, easy-to-lose items that are more trouble than they’re worth.

But golfers on the other side of the argument – those who treat their irons like their children – will likely scoff at those criticisms, and be far happier to use them knowing their clubs are safe and secure.

So, are iron covers lame? It really comes down to the individual.

If you want to put iron covers on your clubs, don’t let what anyone else says stop you from doing so.

Iron covers can add some personality and character to your golf bag.

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Are golf club covers necessary in general?

Head covers are not an essential item in your golf bag, but they do work extremely well to protect your clubs – whether it be your driver, fairway woods, irons or putter – from damage.

The majority of golfers will use a head cover to protect their driver as it’s usually one of the most expensive clubs in their bag – and it’s a great way to show off some of their personality, too.

For example, Tiger Woods famously uses a Tiger head cover named ‘Frank’ to protect his driver, while personally, my driver head cover is embroidered with the logo and colors of my favourite football team.

It just gives you the chance to add some character to your bag.

Similarly, while I don’t have iron covers, I do use a putter cover to protect my flat stick – mainly because it has a soft face that is more susceptible to damage than other clubs in my bag.

So, while head covers aren’t a requirement, they certainly are advantageous, especially when using them to protect your most prized and expensive clubs.

What are the best golf iron covers to buy?

There are dozens and dozens of iron covers available online – Amazon alone has seven pages of iron covers, with most of them ranging between $15-$50 USD – so your choices really are endless.

You can buy covers that look like the American flag, you can buy covers that are bright red or lime green, or you can even buy covers that are emblazed with four-leaf clovers (after all, everyone needs as much luck as they can possibly get on the golf course!).

When it boils down to it, the best iron covers to buy should meet the following criteria:

  • You should like how they look
  • They should be durable and provide adequate protection to your clubs
  • They should fit within your budget

If you find a set of iron covers that tick those three boxes, then you can’t go wrong with your purchase.

Having delved through reams and reams of golf iron covers, these are the top three I would personally consider buying if I was looking for a new set.

Craftsman Golf 12pcs Thick Synthetic Leather Golf Iron Head Covers

These synthetic leather iron covers truly seem like the gold standard.

They’re made from thick material that will add excellent protection to your clubs, and are also waterproof meaning those rainy rounds won’t pose a problem.

They also come in a range of different designs and colors, and can even be personalised (such as having your name embroided on them).

This customisable option is extremely handy, meaning you can order a single cover replacement if you lose one on the course, rather than having to replace the whole set.

YOPRAL Golf Iron Covers Thick Synthetic Leather Golf Iron Head Covers

Another synthetic leather brand, these iron covers are slightly cheaper than the Craftsman set but have far less customisable options.

They come in a simple black and white design, which is hardly going to turn heads on the course, meaning they will fit in seamlessly to almost all golf bags out there.

These really are a classic, conservative style of iron cover that are extremely durable and will last the test of time.

Scott Edward 10 Pcs Iron Golf Club Covers

What drew me to these iron covers was their sock-like style.

While the other two iron covers on this list are more rigid, due to their synthetic leather design, these Scott Edward covers are far easier to slip on and off, and are less bulky – meaning they’ll take up less space in your bag.

The fleece-like material will still do a perfect job of protecting your clubs, but can also be washed if they get dirty.

If you’re a player who hates the fiddly nature of iron covers, these could be the perfect solution for you.

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