OUR JOB IS YOUR GAME
Here are the results of our 2022 Most Wanted utility iron test.
Utility irons are not everyone’s cup of tea. But if a utility iron suits your game, it can be extremely beneficial.
Read on to find out if a utility iron can help your game.
MOST WANTED SCORING
We have reformulated our 2022 Most Wanted results to a 100-point scoring system. This new system better identifies golf clubs to potentially help you shoot lower scores.
For utility irons, we’ve split our key metrics into three categories: accuracy, forgiveness and distance. Each category is weighted through proprietary methodologies.
Data was collected using Foresight GCQuad Launch monitors. To minimize variables, all testers hit Titleist Pro V1 golf balls. Outliers were removed and data was aggregated before scores were calculated.
The accuracy category plays a vital role in every Most Wanted Test. Our accuracy score is determined strictly by Strokes Gained.
Forgiveness is a measure of consistency. As such, our forgiveness metric seeks to identify the clubs that provide the most consistent result. Note: “consistent” doesn’t always mean “consistently good.” Our forgiveness metrics include:
- Ball speed consistency
- Spin consistency
- Carry consistency
- Dispersion area
Without question, distance is always a priority for most consumers. Our distance metrics are simple:
- Carry distance
- Total distance
BEST UTILITY IRONS OVERALL
Top of the Board
- TaylorMade P790 UDI impressed throughout this test: accurate and long is a lethal combo.
- The runner-up, Srixon ZX Utility won last year’s Most Wanted Utility Iron Test. Another stellar showing.
- Tour Edge Exotics C722 TI-Utility claimed third place. Consistency is the name of its game.
BEST UTILITY IRONS FOR DISTANCE
- P790 UDI was the best for distance, almost three yards longer than the next closest competitor.
- Titleist T200 racked up second-best for distance.
- Srixon ZX Utility rounded out the top three. It makes for a solid option if distance is your priority.
BEST UTILITY IRONS FOR FORGIVENESS
- Where consistency is key, Tour Edge Exotics C722 TI-Utility excels.
- Throughout this year’s testing, Proto Concept’s products showcase tremendous consistency. Their C01.5 was the runner up for forgiveness.
- If consistency is the name of the game, Srixon ZX Utility fits the bill.
BEST UTILITY IRONS FOR ACCURACY
- Accuracy can lead to more playable shot opportunities. This is where P790 UDI shines by capturing best for accuracy.
- ZX Utility was sec0nd-best for accuracy with its solid distance and forgiveness scores.
- Titleist T200 comes in third.
Utility Iron Buying Considerations
Performance should be your primary concern when buying a new utility iron but there are some additional factors you may want to consider before you make your purchasing decision.
Utility Irons Versus Long Irons
Long irons are a constant in the golf world. However, do you struggle to hit your 3-, 4-, 0r 5-iron consistently? Most golfers will likely answer with an emphatic “yes.” Utility irons offer more forgiveness than long irons. With wider soles and lower and deeper centers of gravity, utility irons can create more optimum ball flights. Be careful, though. With more optimum ball flight, you may see an increase in carry distance. Be sure to pay attention to your lofts to ensure efficient yardage gapping.
Utility Irons Versus Hybrids
For years, hybrids have served as long iron replacements. However, there are still golfers who prefer the traditional “long iron” look. Well, for those enthusiasts, switching to a utility iron may be the best option. Most hybrids are draw-biased. For those that hate a hook, a utility iron might be the better alternative. Also, if you are a golfer with a steeper angle of attack, utility irons may serve you well. Their tendency is to produce a lower, more penetrating ball flight. Be mindful of your gapping since hybrids tend to launch higher and may result in more carry distance than the utility iron.
Utility Irons Versus Fairway Woods
Arguably, fairway woods are most golfers’ kryptonite. They are one of the most difficult golf clubs to hit consistently. Utility irons offer a lifeline replacement for fairway woods. The downside: Most utility irons only offer, at their lowest, 16 degree of loft. Therefore, they are unlikely candidates as a 3-wood replacement. However, they can be used as direct replacements for 5-woods. Golfers with a steeper angle of attack may benefit from a utility iron. A utility iron offers a sleeker look, more workability and, potentially, more forgiveness than a 5-wood. Typically, utility irons will launch lower and fly shorter than a 5-wood so bear that in mind before you consider the switch.
When you are considering a utility iron, be wary of loft options. Some OEMs offer multiple loft options. Others only offer one or two loft options. Making sure the loft fits into your current set make-up is critical. Lofts ranging from 16.5 to 25 degrees from the OEMs are included in this year’s test.
As always, shaft selection is vital. Most utility/driving irons come stock with a graphite shaft. However, there are OEMs that offer steel shafts. Every shaft performs differently and produces varying launch conditions. Be sure to select the proper shaft that best suits your desired launch conditions.
In previous years, we’ve seen adjustable utility irons. This year’s test did not feature any. However, adjustability is your friend if it is available. With it, you can dial in an ideal loft that best suits your game.
During each test, we look for trends that provide us with insight into where the market as a whole is moving as well as what noteworthy changes manufacturers have made to improve year-to-year performance. Additionally, we solicit feedback from our testers. We want to understand what they liked, what they didn’t like and why. Although we obtain their feedback, their subjective opinions do not influence, dictate or determine our testing rankings.
Trends and Tweaks
- Hollow-body construction is a common theme in utility irons. Manufacturers achieve this in numerous ways:
- Tungsten weighting is another key component.
- PXG, Titleist, TaylorMade and Tour Edge Exotics all feature tungsten-weighting properties.
Notes From The Testing Pool
The following section details subjective feedback from our pool of 20 testers. Gathering feedback is an important aspect of any test. We use their feedback as a representation of what golfers like and dislike about the product we test. That being said, the feedback is strictly subjective. It does not play a factor in the rankings.
- PXG 0311 X Gen5 and Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi received the most compliments for their feel as did Haywood SDI.
- TaylorMade P790 UDI, Titleist T200 and PXG 0311 X Gen5 were complimented the most for appearance and profiling.
- The dark finish of the Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi received mixed comments.
- Srixon ZX Utility and Tour Edge Exotics C722 TI- Utility both gave off a clicky acoustic which was unappealing to testers.
2022 MOST WANTED UTILITY IRON SCORES
2022 Most Wanted Utility Iron Scores
|PRODUCT||OVERALL SCORE||DISTANCE SCORE||ACCURACY SCORE||FORGIVENESS SCORE|
|TaylorMade P790 UDI|
|Srixon ZX Utility|
|Tour Edge Exotics C722 TI-Utility|
|Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi|
|PXG 0311X Gen5|
|Haywood Signature Driving Iron|
|Proto Concept C01.5|
2022 MOST WANTED UTILITY IRON DATA
Here at MyGolfSpy, we are “data-cratic.” If you’re looking for 2022 Most Wanted Utility Iron data, CLICK HERE.
BUYING A NEW UTILITY IRON
Q: When should I buy a new utility iron?
A: In most categories, it typically takes three to five years for manufacturers to make any significant performance gains. This is especially true in the utility category where performance breakthroughs are rare. A good bit of what changes comes down to shaping and cosmetics and, while that can alter performance from one iteration to the next, little in the way of revolutionary technology finds its way into the category. Our recommendation is to buy a new utility iron only when it appreciably outperforms what is already in your bag. Of course, if you want a new utility iron because you want a new utility iron, that’s fine, too.
Q: How do I know which utility iron is right for my game?
A: A proper club fitting with a professional will help determine what utility iron will suit your unique game. However, you can assess your own needs by determining what kind of shots you need to hit with your utility iron. Do you use the utility primarily off the tee or mostly off the turf? If you mainly use the utility iron off the tee, a lower-launching, lower-spinning model might help you get the ball running down the fairway. Conversely, higher-lofted, wide-soled, back-weighed utility irons can help you get the ball launching high and landing softly. Make sure to fully evaluate your game in advance of a professional fitting to help the fitter understand what you’re looking for in a utility iron.
Q: Does the shaft matter?
A: Absolutely. While changes to spin and launch are rarely massive, shaft changes frequently lead to improved accuracy, tighter dispersion and greater overall consistency. We always recommend working with a qualified fitter. If that’s not possible, take the time to understand the different shaft profiles offered and how the performance of each might benefit or adversely affect your game.
Q: What should I look for when testing utility irons?
A: While golfers have been conditioned to consider distance to the exclusion of nearly everything else, we recommended looking at the little numbers and looking for small circles. When comparing metrics like distance and ball speed, be sure to look at your standard deviations (the small numbers usually found under the big ones on the data screen). Smaller numbers mean better consistency, which will usually benefit your score more than an extra yard or two. Similarly, look for tighter dispersion ellipses (small circles). We can’t overstate the importance of consistency with utility irons.
Q: What does Most Wanted mean?
A: We define Most Wanted as the best-performing club. Based on Strokes Gained, it’s the club that was shown to be in the top-performing group for the highest percentage of our testing pool. For more detailed information, see our How We Test page.
Q: How is the Most Wanted Utility Iron determined?
A: To determine the Most Wanted Utility Iron, we collect performance metrics with Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitors. To determine our overall rankings, we don’t just focus on averages. Instead, through proprietary methodologies, we determine the winner based on three key metrics – accuracy, distance, and forgiveness.
Q: How is the “Longest” Utility Iron determined?
A: To determine the Longest Utility Iron, we again look past the raw averages to consider the average total yards across the test pool along with the statistical reliability of that data.
Q: How is the “Most Forgiving” Utility Iron determined?
A: To determine the Most Forgiving Utility Iron, we focus on a narrower set of metrics that includes:
- Ball speed consistency
- Spin consistency
- Carry consistency
- Dispersion area
Q: How are the utility irons in the test fit to each golfer?
A: We use a fitting process that we call fit from stock. Irons are fitted to each tester using the stock, no up-charge options from each manufacturer. We test utility irons ranging in loft from 17 to 19.5 degrees. While less so in this category, adjustability is growing in popularity. When movable weights or adjustable hosels are available, we make every effort to optimize each club for each tester. Occasionally, manufacturers will send multiple sets with different stock shafts that we can utilize to improve launch conditions.
Q: How much does subjective feedback like looks, sound, and feel factor into your rankings?
A: ZERO. Our rankings are based purely on launch monitor data and quantifiable performance metrics.
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