Do You Need Higher Launch Irons?

High Launch Irons

If you cannot hold the greens with you longer irons, you need higher launch (HL) irons!  Of course, the alternative may be to try a hybrid or two as well.

Replace the Long(er) Irons with a Hybrid?

The Eternal Quest for Distance

Golfers seem to be obsessed with distance.  Especially as we see more senior golfers that lose a little club speed every year.  The equipment manufacturers have tried to solve the issue with lower lofted heads, hotter faces, and lighter heads.  While that has helped the distance issue, it has not helped golfers hit their irons into the green and land like a butterfly with sore feet!

Reasons Why You Launch the Ball Low


Clubs may be too short causing you to hit thin shots

Shafts may be too stiff or soft causing poor contact

Swing Tendencies

Ball position may be too far forward

Angle of attack is too shallow or positive

The Advent of HL Irons

We have started to see a number of manufacturers add HL (High Launch) iron models to their lines.  Most notable are the Mizuno JPX-923 Hot Metal HL, Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL and TaylorMade Qi10 HL.  There are others like the Ping G430 HL.  The two things that are notable about the new HL irons is that they are lighter weight and have slightly higher lofts.  The result should be increased speed and height with no loss of distance.  Here is a table comparing the traditional and HL models for Callaway, Mizuno and TaylorMade:

6i Loft PW Loft
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke 25 42
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL 27 43
Mizuno JPX-923 Hot Metal 25 42.5
Mizuno JPX-923 Hot Metal HL 28 45
TaylorMade Qi10 24 43
TaylorMade Qi10 HL 26.5 44.5

As you can see there is an appreciable loft increase, especially in the longer irons.  But what affect does it have on the launch conditions of our golfers.

Here are the results of our TrackMan 4 testing;  (All tests were done using the same shaft on different heads for each tester).

Slower Swing Speeds – 6 iron – 70 to 78 mph:

Height Increase 10 ft., Landing angle increase 2-3 degrees, Spin Increase 400-800rpm, Distance Loss – Carry 1-3 yards.   Would recommend trying an HL head!

Higher Swing Speeds – 6 Iron – 80 to 90 mph:

Height increase 2 – 10 ft., Landing angle increase – 2-5 degrees, Spin Increase 800 – 1100rpm, Distance Loss – Carry 7-15 yards.   Would NOT recommend HL heads as spin increase and distance loss does not warrant the higher launch heads.


Dan Sueltz