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We all want the game of golf to be easier and more enjoyable. Some of us though, need the help more than others, and that’s completely fine. If you’re new to the game or a higher handicapper that struggles to find the centre of the face then game improvement irons could be for you. That’s why we’ve put three of the best game improvement irons on the market head-to-head. We have three sets of irons which are new this year and all of them excel in different areas. We put the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke, the Cobra Darkspeed and the TaylorMade Qi irons head to head to see how they compared.  If you would rather WATCH my reviews of these clubs, scroll to the bottom of the page. Let’s get into it.
Credit: Callaway
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke
For the golfer who is looking for distance and forgiveness in a clean looking hollow body iron 


  • Callaway Ai Smart Face is fast and forgiving  
  • Easy to launch and get in the air 
  • Longer blade lengths inspire confidence behind the ball 
  • Quarter inch longer in long irons for more distance 


  • Hard to fault 
Available for £899 from Callaway
These are fun to hit and look brilliant at address. They don’t necessarily shout game improvement iron, but with the longer blade length it gives you that added confidence. 
These hollow-body irons have a perfect blend of speed, distance and forgiveness, and with the new Ai Smart Face, you’ll get the consistency you are looking for in these irons.
The Ai Smart Face helps deliver optimal launch, consistency, and distance, especially on the mishits, whether they are from low, high, the heel, or the toe. When you do get one from the middle of the face, it’s a joy and the speeds and distance are very consistent. 
The Paradym Ai Smoke has stronger lofts than standard with a hollow body construction for extra speed, distance, and consistency. You can expect a higher launch but a lower spin for more distance. You also have a pre-worn leading edge which helps the club glide through the turf.  
When you get into the longer irons, you have a quarter-inch longer length, which will give you that extra club speed and distance whilst keeping dispersion tight.  
It’s a brilliant iron for mid-to-high handicappers looking for an iron that is a brilliant all-rounder that is fun and easy to it.
Credit: Cobra
Cobra darkspeed irons
Cobra Darkspeed
If you are wanting distance and tighter dispersion try the Cobra Darkspeed range 


  • H.O.T face delivers forgiveness across the face 
  • PWR-Bridge weighting contributes to faster ball speeds 
  • Ai L-Cup face designed for faster speeds 
  • TECHFLO construction delivers consistent performance 


  • A bit of offset, may not be for everyone 
Available for £849 from Cobra
The Cobra Darkspeed irons are very impressive. They help the ball fly long and straight and are fast and easy to get in the air. The gunmetal finish looks really smart and behind the ball it looks even better. 
The irons feature optimised performance through the set and a progressive TECFLO construction. This means they progressively change from full hollow design with PWR-BRIDGE and PWRSHELL in the 4-7 irons, to a full hollow body with no face insert in the 8-PW, to a half hollow design in the GW-SW. This allows you to have more spin control and stopping power in the scoring irons. 
The PWR-BRIDGE weighting and PWRSHELL H.O.T Face insert working together to deliver fast ball speeds, great distance and forgiveness for tighter dispersion.  The PWR-Bridge weighting is low and forward for faster ball speeds with H.O.T face delivering great distance, especially on mishits.
The L-Cup face is designed using A.I for a faster and more efficient clubface with the H.O.T Face insert delivering a variable face thickness, delivering more forgiveness.  
They, look, feel and sound brilliant and if you’re a high handicapper looking for clubs that will go miles but still have stopping power to get you closer to the hole. 
Credit: TaylorMade
TaylorMade Qi irons
TaylorMade Qi
Hitting it longer and straighter just became a whole lot easier


  • Each iron is individually designed for consistent performance 
  • Heat-map design makes it more stable and consistent on those off-centre strikes 
  • FLTD CG helps eliminate the dreaded miss right and keeps each shot straighter and longer 
  • Cap back design delivers a great feel like the P790 


  • None so far
Available for £157 per iron from TaylorMade
The TaylorMade Qi irons look the part and will make you feel like you can’t miss the ball.
They have longer blade lengths which make the club head look a lot bigger on the eye which makes you feel like you can’t miss it. Minimal offset which again will help you it straighter along with FLTD CG. 
Each Qi iron is individually designed with FLTD CG just like the P790 irons, irons aimed at better players. The flighted centre of gravity technology helps straighten out the slice and, more importantly, keeps each shot straighter and longer. The new technologies work together to increase ball speeds, launch angles, and spin rates. The cap-back design and TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket technology ensure consistency throughout the bag, including in gapping.  
The 4-and 5-irons feature a lower-profile backbar design for a low CG that helps get the ball off the ground, while the shorter irons have a heel-toe weighting for higher inertia, more forgiveness, and better control with the scoring clubs. 
TaylorMade’s cap-back design toe wrap allows for mass to be strategically placed to deliver clean lines and a satisfying sound and feel, much like the P770 or P790. Internally, the Hybrar Echo Damper reduce unwanted vibrations. The face also features a heat-map design, allowing it to flex on mishit shots which in turns makes it more stable and consistent on those off-centre strikes.  
A really impressive iron design from TaylorMade that will get you hitting the ball straighter and further. A golfer’s dream.   

If you want to see my verdict, then you can watch that HERE! If you want to read what I think, then keep scrolling…


author headshot

James Tait is bunkered’s Gear Editor. Want to know how the latest Callaway driver, Vokey wedge or Scotty Cameron putter performs? He’s the guy to ask. Better yet, just watch his videos on the bunkered YouTube channel. One of the biggest hitters in the UK, James also competes on the World Long Drive circuit and is a descendent of former Amateur champion Freddie Tait.

Gear Editor

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