How epic is it to watch Tiger Woods hit the notorious stinger shot? It’s arguably one of the greatest shots in golf and has helped him win a ton of events earlier in his career.
Unfortunately, 99.99% of golfers don’t have the right club or swing to make that shot happen on a regular basis. While more and more players are switching to hybrids, there is still a small group of players that are committed to long irons. Not just 3 and 4 irons but actual driving or utility irons.
They might not produce the incredible Tiger stinger, they can still help you improve your game. Keep reading to learn more about driving irons and find the best driving irons for 2021.
Our Picks for Best Driving Irons
- Taylormade Sim DHY – Easiest Driving Iron to Hit
- Titleist U510 – Best Driving Iron for Better Players
- Cobra King Utility Iron – Best Technology on a Driving Iron
A driving iron is a long iron that is specifically designed for tee shots. While you can hit from the fairway, they are meant to provide an alternative to hybrids, 5 wood, and long irons from the tee.
Driving irons aren’t for everyone as you typically need to have a higher amount of swing speed to benefit from them. Driving irons are awesome for links golf or playing in windy conditions to keep the ball low and roll out.
Driving irons have lost their popularity in recent years thanks to higher lofted woods and adjustable, hybrid golf clubs. If you’re new to the game, I’d stick with hybrids or fairway woods.
But if you’re an experienced golfer and looking for ways to make your long game better, a utility iron is a great idea. Here are the best driving irons for 2021.
1. Titleist U500 and 510 Utility Iron
I’ll be honest, I used to hate hitting long irons. For the longest time, I played fairway woods and hybrids to avoid the 3-4 iron (and still didn’t love my 5 iron most days). As a scratch golfer, I always felt like I was leaving shots on the course on par 5’s and even long par 3’s as well.
Doing my post round statistics, one day I realized I needed to fix this issue sooner than later. The one problem with playing woods and hybrids is that bigger misses happen as opposed to a long iron.
Since there is more weight and size behind the ball, more things can go wrong at impact. Sure, they’re easier to hit, but the shot dispersion tends to be much bigger as well.
Finally, I decided to try out the Titleist driving iron because I wanted smaller misses and needed a weapon for attacking par 5’s. Looking back, I wish I would’ve made this decision a lot sooner as it’s become my new secret weapon.
The Titleist U500 might be my favorite club in the bag and I often refer to it as my “cheat code” on par 5’s and long par 3’s. It’s so much easier to hit than a normal long iron and can’t believe how good my misses are with it.
Titleist pulled out all the stops with these clubs and it’s easy to see why so many golfers love them. As Titleist said on their website, “More distance than a standard iron, less spin than a hybrid. U•500 and U•510 are called Utility Irons for a reason. These clubs are designed to expand your shot options at the top end of the bag.”
Here’s why I love and recommend these clubs to help you hit better long irons.
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Titleist U510 Utility Iron
The U510 utility iron is a gorgeous club that has more of a muscular shape than a hybrid. It’s the more forgiving of the two utility irons from Titleist and slightly larger than the 500 series. The 510’s are also slightly more offset than the 500 but still look like a players club.
If you don’t love hybrids, I bet you’ll love the look of this club at address. It has a high launch from the low CG placement and provides plenty of speed thanks to the face insert. At address, you can see a little bit more of the club than a typical long iron, but still much less than a hybrid.
The U510 is available in four different loft options (for both right and left-handed golfers); 16, 18, 20, and 22 degrees. I’d argue that most golfers don’t need the 16 (unless you have a really strong three wood to gap it properly) and can use one of the other three irons instead.
Arguably the biggest perk of the U510 utility iron is the stock shaft from Titleist. It comes stock with a Project X HZRDUS smoke black shaft which is normally an upcharge as it’s a very high quality shaft. Depending on which flex you get, it’s between 79-83 grams which is perfect for longer irons.
One of the biggest reasons long irons are hard to hit for so many golfers is because they’re too heavy. But Titleist makes it so much easier to make great contact with this awesome shaft.
The shaft is made for a lower launch and minimal spin, which is great for advanced players. I’ve played this shaft in my woods for quite some time, so using it in my long iron gave me a huge confidence boost.
Since this club is a bit bigger than the U500, I would recommend only hitting it from a good lie in the fairway or off a tee. Since it’s so wide, it’s a little hard to hit from the thick stuff and should be treated as a driving iron, not a rescue club.
Titleist U500 Utility Iron
The second Titleist utility iron option is the U500 model which has minimal offset and a much thinner top line. It’s designed for lower handicap golfers with a faster swing speed who don’t need quite as high of a ball flight. As Titleist said, “Designed for the game you play. Extremely versatile, low loft utility iron designed for superior shot-making.”
This utility iron comes in only three lofts (in both right and left-handed); 17, 20, and 23 degrees. Since this is designed for more advanced golfers, it’s only available in stiff or extra stiff shafts. And you still get the Project X HZRDUS smoke black but only in a slightly heavier, 90 gram hybrid shaft.
As I mentioned, I’ve played this club for a while and absolutely love it. The 90 gram shaft is a great feeling and looking at the club, you never worry about contact like a normal long iron. Both the 510 and 500 come with a Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 white flat cap grip too.
Since this club is a bit more compact it can be used as a rescue club as well. I love hitting it from the light rough, on a tee, or in the fairway. It’s a very versatile club and easy to see why guys on the PGA Tour love it. If you’re a mid to low handicap golfer, I’d suggest the 510 over the 500 (unless you need the 2 iron version).
2. TaylorMade SIM UDI & SIM DHY
Another top utility iron in the game is the latest models from TaylorMade. In fact, they’re trusted by some of the top guys on the PGA Tour and a great alternative to traditional long irons or hybrids.
For 2021, TaylorMade released the SIM DHY and SIM UDI utility irons which are a big upgrade from the past. They also have the P790 UDI which is designed for lower handicap or scratch golfers. Now, there is a much better selection of long irons for the everyday golfer that will help you hit it high and land it soft.
Here is a breakdown of the three TaylorMade models:
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TaylorMade SIM DHY Driving Iron
First up is the SIM DHY iron, which is the more forgiving of the three irons from TaylorMade. Since it is a bit larger than most long irons, it’s more comparable to a small hybrid or the Titleist U510 iron. But even though it’s slightly larger, it’s incredibly versatile and should give you tons of confidence.
Here’s how TaylorMade describes this beast, “Designed for versatility and forgiveness, SIM DHY is truly a superior driving hybrid. A confidence-inspiring shape and wide sole give you the ability to play it off the tee, from the fairway and from difficult lies.”
With a wider sole, it’s a very helpful club that you can play from nearly any lie. Thanks to its hollow body construction and low CG, it’s incredibly easy to launch high in the air as well.
But what makes this club so great is the C300 steel face to deliver more effortless speed. More speed means more distance, thanks to its Inverted Cone Technology. This also means a larger sweet spot for those off center hits and a straighter ball flight too.
The DHY is available in 2, 3, 4, and 5 iron lofts and delivers a mid-launch to mid-low spin. Ideally, it’s suited for a 0-25 handicap golfer who wants some help with longer irons.
Like the Titleist driving iron, only one shaft is offered. In this case, you get the Diamana Limited hybrid shaft that weighs between 55-75g based on flex (M, R, and stiff available). This is still much lighter than most long irons and makes it a great choice for the everyday golfer.
If you struggle with your woods and want a fairway finder, this is a great club to add to your bag.
TaylorMade SIM UDI Driving Iron
The second driving iron from TaylorMade is the UDI which is geared toward a better ball striker than the DHY iron. TaylorMade recommends this club for 0-15 handicaps as the launch is lower and lower spin too. If you struggle to get the ball airborne and keep long irons on the dance floor, opt for the DHY instead.
This Tour-inspired shape is much better to look at address since it’s a lot more compact with a thinner leading edge. Not only should it inspire tons of confidence but it’s compact enough to also work the ball both ways as well. Plus, the Diamana Thump Hybrid shaft is a great stock shaft and available in S or X flex (92-105 grams).
The downside to this driving iron is that it’s only available in a 2 or 3 iron, which isn’t great for most golfers. I think they should also offer a 4 iron like Titleist as that is usually the longest iron that most golfers carry. Otherwise, a hybrid might make sense unless you think your swing is consistent enough for a 2 or 3 iron.
This club is best off the tee and a good fairway lie as it provides a piercing ball flight. If you’re in the rough, make sure to evaluate the lie and ensure you can get the club on the ball.
3. TaylorMade P790 UDI
Finally, let’s not forget about the P790 either. This is the least forgiving of the three driving irons from TaylorMade and designed for advanced golfers. It’s not ideal from the rough and more suited for the tee or clean fairway lie. But it’s smaller design makes it much easier to shape shots but don’t expect the same forgiveness as the other two utility irons.
This iron is only offered in a 2 iron for right-handed players and designed for 0-5 handicaps. With low launch and low spin, you might even be able to pull off the patented Tiger stinger with this club.
But unless you’re a very consistent golfer, I’d stick with the UDI or DHY model. Remember, these irons are meant to make the game easier, not harder! Always play the club that is right for your game.
4. Cobra King Utility Iron
Next up on our list is the Cobra King Utility Iron which is making quite a positive impression from golfers worldwide. Perhaps the biggest difference between this club and a lot of others on this list is that it’s adjustable.
That’s right, you can adjust the loft with this utility iron just like you would with a hybrid or fairway wood which is a huge perk. Thanks to the “MyFly” loft settings, you can finely tune this club into one of eight settings. Now you’ll never have to worry about gapping your long irons or hybrids and woods again.
Plus, it has:
- A clean, modern design without a bulky look at address.
- 66 gram tungsten weighting right behind the hitting zone for effortless distance.
- Forged face insert that creates a larger sweet spot and more ball speed, plus a higher launch.
While you can adjust the loft within three degrees, the stock versions are 2 iron (16 degrees), 3 iron (18 degrees) and 4 iron (21 degrees). You can also choose from a steel shaft (KBS $ Taper Lite) or a graphite shaft (Project X Catalyst) option. Each model comes with a Cobra Lamkin Crossline connect black and white grip too.
The one downside is that 2 irons and x-stiff shafts are custom options only which is kind of a bummer. Since high handicap golfers aren’t usually playing these clubs, it’s weird that Cobra didn’t make stiff and x-stiff the norm settings here.
But a big perk is that it also comes with Cobra Connect shot tracking technology too. Each utility iron has an Arccos embedded grip sensor that syncs with the Arccos Caddie app. You can use this data to learn more about your distances and thanks to adjustability, tweak as needed.
Or, you can also opt to go the Bryson DeChambeau route and play it as “one length” iron. This club is designed to match a 7-iron length and is available in a 3/4/5 iron with graphite or steel shaft. This isn’t the route I’d recommend for most golfers but being that Bryson is one of their top ambassadors, it makes sense to offer to the general public as well.
5. Cleveland UHX Utility Irons
Cleveland has also joined the utility iron race with their UHX utility irons. These clubs are more offset than most on this list and designed for a mid to high handicapper. If you’re a scratch golfer or low handicap, these probably aren’t the ones for you.
But if you’re the right type of golfer, these are phenomenal clubs that provide tons of forgiveness. Their hollow body construction makes them much more forgiving than a normal long iron and the steel face is designed for increased ball speeds.
Even if you do it on the heel or toe, you’ll still have a much straighter shot. Plus, their V-shaped sole makes it easy to hit it off the turf as well.
These clubs are available in a 3, 4, and 5 iron (18-20-23 degree lofts). The 3 iron is right-handed only but 4 & 5 are available for left-handed golfers too.
The only downside to this club is the one option UST Recoil 95 graphite shaft. 95 grams might be a bit much for some higher handicap players.
And the biggest perk about these Cleveland driving irons? The price! These Cleveland utility irons are a fraction of the price of bigger brands like TaylorMade or Titleist.
6. Srixon ZX Utility Iron
The final club to make our list is the Srixon ZX utility iron. Disclaimer, these aren’t for the faint of heart – if you’re not a consistent ball striker then find another option. These are basically the opposite of the Cleveland iron and made for very low handicap golfers.
The biggest difference is that it has a much smaller profile and mimics a long iron more than a driving iron. But if you’re looking for playability and a bit more forgiveness than normal, this is the club for you.
The Srixon ZX utility iron is available in 2, 3, and 4 iron models (18-20-23 degrees). Like most irons on this list, they aren’t adjustable but do help with a higher launch and additional forgiveness on off center shots.
Looks alone, this might be the best looking driving iron on this list. Thanks to its compact shape and medium sole thickness, it’s blade-like design is great to look at. That being said, don’t expect much forgiveness on mishits.
Finally, it’s only available in a graphite shaft with regular, stiff or x-stiff flex. Needless to say, it’s definitely not the most forgiving on this list but arguably the best to look at. It’s still a big upgrade from a normal, heavy shafted long iron.
When choosing your driving iron, here are the biggest factors to think about.
One of the biggest factors in selecting your new driving iron is to find one that goes the right distance. In most cases, if you carry a driving iron, you will have a driver, 3-wood, and then 3 or 4 iron. In a perfect world, your driving iron would go further than your 3-iron and shorter than your 3-wood.
Price isn’t too bad with driving irons as they are generally less expensive than fairway woods or hybrids. It only gets expensive if you replace 2-4 clubs as long irons as well.
Finding the right utility iron for your game is crucial to making sure it stays in the bag for the long term. Test a few out to make sure it’s playable enough for your game. Remember, the more forgiving, the less you’re able to work the ball (for the most part).
Got more questions about driving irons? Make sure to read all the FAQs below.
Yes and no. A 3-iron can certainly be used as a driving iron but it’s not specifically designed in the same way.
Three irons are usually 20-23 degrees in loft while driving irons have less loft. Plus, driving irons are also usually more forgiving and meant to be hit off the tee. They typically have a larger design that makes them look very different as you set up to the golf ball.
The best 2-iron is the one that works for you! There isn’t one specific brand necessarily but instead, it’s figuring out the best clubs for your game. For 99% of golfers, a 2-irons shouldn’t even be in the golf bag.
If you are set on having a 2-iron and have the game for it, make sure you find the right shaft for your swing. As the club is harder to hit than most clubs, you will likely want to switch to a lighter version of your iron shaft or get a new entirely.
Fewer pros are using driving irons than ever before. In fact, more pros are using hybrids and fairway woods than driving irons. But some players who have a ton of swing speed prefer the 2, 3 or driving iron.
Pros tend to use driving irons when they’re playing links golf or if it’s very windy conditions. Or if you’re Tiger Woods, you might still keep the 2-iron stinger in the bag as well.
Pro Tip: Make sure to read our article about how to hit long irons.
If you’re looking to bring the Tiger stinger to your game, hopefully, you found this post helpful. Remember, when choosing a driving iron, always make sure it’s right for your game. Don’t buy one just to try and impress your buddies. Instead, impress them with your low scores, regardless of what clubs you carry.
If your game does suit a driving iron, make sure to find the right one for your game. Find one that is similar to your game in terms of loft and shaft flex. Once you get one, make sure to practice before taking it out as there is a huge difference for a lot of golfers.