Yes, playing golf is expensive. Or at least it can be.
The marketing machinery of the big brands has to be fed somehow, which means that every hear there is a new set on the market that promises to be even better than the previous one.
But worry not, you can buy an excellent set of irons for under $400. Ok, if you don’t want to play a non-name brand without any reputation, that means that you might have to play a second-hand set of clubs.
But that’s not half as bad as you might think. All of the irons we’ve reviewed used to be top-tier when they were released.
A couple of years later, they’re still great, and to your benefit, you can pick them up cheaply now!
We have set out to find the best iron set under 400 Dollars and included the best choice for all kinds of players, whether your a beginner, senior, or scratch golfer.
Keep reading to learn more.
Not time? Here’s our Top Picks
- More distance, even with slow swing speeds
- Very Forgiving
- Comparable to modern irons
- Awesome Blade Style Look
- Premium quality for a discounted price
- Great feel
- Very forgiving
- Well suited for slower swing speeds
- Easy to launch the ball high
What to look for in great second-hand irons
Before you venture into a thrift store to grab the first iron that remotely looks like golf equipment, there are a couple of things you need to know before you make a choice.
When buying any golf iron, you want to consider the make and quality of the brand overall. In our review, we have only included well-established brands that have been producing some of the best-golfing equipment on the market.
Secondly, you want identity if the set you’re eying has been fitted for another player.
This might mean that the shafts are shorter or longer, the lie angle is changed, or the club’s make doesn’t really fit your game.
Consider that stiff flex models are geared towards players that swing fast. If you’re new to the game or have a slower swing speed, look for irons with graphite shafts instead.
For moderate swing speeds, both regular and stiff flex might be suitable.
Lastly, most sets you’ll find will start at a pitching wedge and include all irons up until your 5 or even 4 iron.
If you find a great set but are missing the longer irons, you can consider replacing them with hybrids instead. Otherwise, we recommend opting for a complete set if you can.
The best Iron sets under $400
Luckily, you have many choices from premium golf brands when you’re in the market for a cheap set of irons.
Prices drip right after a new set is released, making second-hand irons a real bargain if you’re ok to play an older set.
Here are our top picks for the best iron sets under $400.
The TaylorMade Burner came out in 09; it changed the game of golf. This was a very experimental set of golf irons from TaylorMade and quickly become one of their best-sellers.
This set includes Pitching Wedge – 4 Iron. Consider replacing your 4 iron with a hybrid if you see that you’re not using it often. Hybrids are a bit easier to hit, and there is no need to carry a club you don’t intend to use in your golf game.
It’s a cast-iron built, designed for power. Even if you’re used to playing a newer set of irons, you might pick up a couple of mph in ball speed with the Burner 09.
The Cone Technology and speed pocket distribute the weight in the clubhead to make it more powerful. This is definitely a game-improvement iron designed for more distance.
If you were to compare this with a Mizuno iron, you could expect more distance but less control.
Golfer with slower swing speeds or seniors won’t have to swing fast to create some serious distance and high with this distance iron.
The heavy heel weighting further helps to close the clubface at impact. That useful if you are struggling with a slice and helps you to square up the clubface at impact.
- More distance, especially with slower swing speeds
- Still holds up to today’s standards
- Not suited for players that need to shape their shots on every swing
Ping has always been known to produce some of the best game improvement irons on the market, and the i20 is no exception.
These are lightweight irons aimed at handicap golfers that look for extra forgiveness and want to score lower.
It has a medium sole and medium to thin top line, giving you a great look at address. You won’t be able to tell these are game improvement irons, just by the looks.
The stabilizing bars in the back help you keep the club face under control even if you don’t hit the sweet spot of the club face.
Having that extra bit of forgiveness might make the difference between being in a bunker short of the green or making it. Quite useful for most players!
The i20 has a bit more weight on the toe, promoting a draw or fighting a fade. It won’t fix your slice for you but definitely help to straighten out your golf shots.
The most interesting feature about this set is that the offset increases as you go up in length.
Your long irons will have more offset than your short irons. Perfect for a set of game improvement irons.
Offset is something that helps you launch the ball higher. Many players find the look of clubs with offset unappealing.
Having this dynamic offset through your set gives you all advantages, but only if you need it.
- Dynamic offset through the set
- Modern technology on an older iron
- Very forgiving
- Impact feels a bit harder than with modern irons
Mizuno is notoriously famous for producing expensive but extremely good golf clubs! The MP-15 features some of the highlights you got to expect from Mizuno.
These are forged irons that utilize Mizunos Grain Forged Technology. This makes for a superior feel and very soft impact.
The MP-15 has a Titanium insert forged into the back of the club. This archives a low center of gravity, making the irons easier to hit. Especially if you have a slower swing speed.
They have the classic MP blade look that many people love, but they are more forgiving than classic blade-style irons, thanks to features like the Titanium insert.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a player’s iron. A thin topline, chrome finish, and next to no offset require you to be accurate with your iron play.
But forgiveness is usually not the reason people buy Mizuno irons. We’re after the feel, the looks, and the amazing performance if you hit the sweet spot.
The sound is a little clunkier than you’d come to expect. They don’t sound great or bad, just different if you compare them to other Mizuno irons.
- Premium quality for a discounted price
- Classic Mizuno Blade style looks and performance
- Long irons are hard to hit. Consider a combo set
Adams Idea has been on the market for a while but doesn’t usually spend as much on expensive marketing campaigns as other brands.
That’s good news for you. Their awesome irons are of superior quality, and your money won’t be spent on marketing instead of research.
The CMB is a game improvement irons with a two-piece head design. The tungsten weight for a lower center of gravity (CG).
A lower CG makes it easier to launch the faster ball speed and higher launch. You normally need higher swing speeds and a descending angle of attack to launch the ball high.
Getting that extra help to produce higher ball flights can do wonders for players struggling with distance and getting the ball to stop on the green.
A higher ball flight also means that you have a steeper angle of descent, which is great when approaching greens because your ball won’t roll on forever.
For comparison, they look and feel very similar to the Titleist AP2. A fairly small club head, classic form, and pleasant to look down to at address.
The CMB was the softest Adams Idea iron at the time. This still holds up to this date, and the CMB feels amazing when you hit them flush.
This is a beginner-friendly iron, perfect for high handicappers. If you’re a 10 handicapper or less, you might be better suited with a set of irons that are more workable.
- Soft feel
- Great looks
- Low CG for higher ball flights
- Not the easiest to shape shots with
The Superlaunch is a great choice for players with a slower swing speed who are looking for extra distance on their golf iron shots. They’re available in steel and graphite shafts, so make sure to choose to correct option for your game.
It features a wide sole that helps with turf interaction, making it easier to pick the ball clean instead of digging the leading edge of the club into the ground if you’re a little too steep.
The weight of the clubhead is arranged around the perimeter. This is a technique many modern irons also use to keep the club heads stable at impact of maximum distance.
When you hit the ball off the toe or heel, the clubface often twists in your hand, taking off a lot of distance in your shorts.
The perimeter weighting and speed pocket help to keep it square on off-center strikes, so you still get the max distance off your shots. Especially useful if you have been struggling with distance and distance control.
Similar to the Burner, this iron is also a bit harder to shape shots with. If you’re a low handicapper that relies on accurate trajectory control, maybe a player or mid-handicapper set is better suited for you.
If you’re a player that has noticed a lack of distance in your iron shots, give the Superlaunch a try and consider playing a graphite shaft instead of a steel shaft. They are generally better suited for slower swing speeds.
- Well suited for seniors and slower swing speeds
- Not best suited for lower handicappers
This forged irons set by Callaway comes very close to exactly what you’d expect a modern set of irons to be like. Callaway Irons have been on the market for decades, and you can’t go wrong with this brand.
The forged Cabon steel construction delivers a soft feel, well suited for the better player. Especially because of the ultra Hot Face with Tungsten sole inserts that further lowers the center of gravity.
A hot face like you might see on tour-issued irons is great for distance and shapeability but can sometimes be tough to master.
The lower CG and tungsten weighting add a bit more forgiveness if your path and impact aren’t perfect, which will give you maximum forgiveness.
The steel shafts come in a stiff flex, which is better suited for fast swing speeds.
The lower CG helps, but if you’re already struggling with swing speed and distance control, this might isn’t the iron for you.
Also geared towards the better player is the wide groove face design. It produces more spin, which is great when you’re approaching the green.
There are a couple of things that impact spin. You lie, the ball, how soft the greens are, and more. But knowing that your club is built to produce more spin might allows you to attach pins more aggressively.
- Great feel
- Easy to shape for better players
- Not suitable for slower swing speeds.
What to look for when buying used golf irons?
When buying a used set of irons, you have an opportunity to massively save money if you play your cards right.
There are a couple of things to look out for when you’re in the market for a second-hand set of irons, though.
Here what to keep in mind.
What makes these the best golf irons for under $400?
Keep in mind that many of the irons in our review used to be top-of-the-class products. We didn’t include any budget or cheap products because they usually don’t hold up the test of time.
What makes them cheap is the fact that they’re second-hand products.
Now, that doesn’t mean at all that they are not great irons anymore. Major brands release new clubs every year.
Ok, some of the new technology definitely gives you an edge on the course, but that doesn’t mean that older lines are no longer playable.
The differences are minor, and many golfers will do just as well with a set that is a couple of years older than the newest release.
Note that not all sets will include the same number of irons. Most sets will include longer irons but won’t have a gap wedge. Consider adding this, especially better golfers profit from tighter gapping in their shorter irons.
Other irons you want to consider adding are utility or driving irons or more wedges if you have trouble with gapping.
Where to find Used Irons?
You have a couple of options here. Global golf has a great selection of second-hand clubs, but you might get lucky when looking for Facebook groups in your region.
Another option is to go to yard sales but keep in mind that some luck is involved in finding the set you’re looking for.
What are the different kinds of irons that exist?
Irons are usually split into different categories tailored to a player’s ability. These include:
- Super Game Improvement
- Game Improvement
- For Mid-Handicapper
- Players Irons
They differ in forgiveness, shape, and construction. Players’ irons are geared towards lower handicappers that don’t need much help making good contact with the ball.
Hence they focus on feel and the ability to shape your shots.
Now, just because you have a super game improvement set of irons, that doesn’t mean that you’re a high-handicapper.
There are plenty of people that score reasonably low with a beginner set of golf irons.
More important is to find the best irons for YOUR game. A visit to a club fitter might make sense if you’re unsure about which golf irons are right for you.
Other Money-Saving Tricks For Playing Golf
Besides opting for a second-hand set of irons, you can also save money by playing cheaper golf balls.
Heaper golf balls usually have fewer layers than premium models and are a bit harder to shape your shots with.
But if you’re looking to save some bucks and usually lose some during a round, either way, they’re totally ok to play with.
What to do next
Whether you’re just getting into the game of golf or have already been playing for a while. The sport can put a serious dent into your pocket. New irons are great, but they come with a hefty price tag.
Over 25 million Americans play golf, and buying a second hand-set of clubs is a great choice to save some money and get an affordable set of clubs.
The Taylormade Burner 09 is overall the best irons you can buy for less than $400.
It’s forgiving, of premium built quality, and well suited for advanced and beginner golfers.
If you’re in the market for a new set or are looking for a set you keep in the car, give the TaylorMade Burner 09 a try.