These 2024 irons recorded the fastest ball speeds during robot testing

callaway paradym ai smoke irons

Callaway's Paradym Ai Smoke impressed in the ball speed department.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Unless you’re an elite ball-striker wielding a set of musclebacks that absolutely have to hit a certain speed threshold, adding some velocity through the bag is generally a good thing.

More speed means more distance, and more distance means a shorter club in your hands on a 150-yard approach. That’s a scenario every golfer wants to encounter during a round.

Tracking down an iron with plenty of ball speed in the tank is one way to shorten those approaches. But it’s not just speed out of the middle. Unless you possess a tour card, it’s generally good to have something in the bag that generates strong ball speed numbers across the entire face.

As expected, the five fastest models were in the game-improvement category, which makes sense considering these offerings are usually loaded with ultra-thin faces, tungsten weighting and high-tech cavity badges. Let’s check out the numbers.

(How we calculate: Each 7-iron is tested at 80 mph using three-point face mapping. We hit six balls from each location on the face — heel, toe and geometric center — and then came up with an average based on the 18 strikes.)


Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke | 117.7 mph

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Custom Irons

Ai SMOKE IRONS The Paradym Ai Smoke irons represent a total revolution in iron performance. The Ai Smoke family of irons utilizes the most advanced iron face in Callaway history: the Ai Smart Face Industry-First Ai Smart Face™ The all-new Ai Smart Face optimizes iron performance using swing data from thousands of real golfers. The result is a face that promotes maximum distance with tight dispersion into the green. Improved Turf Interaction The all-new Dynamic Sole Design features a pre-worn leading edge with variable bounce that cuts through the turf with extreme efficiency. This dynamic design promotes crisp contact on all shots and is engineered to provide exceptional forgiveness.
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Callaway ’23 Big Bertha | 117.3 mph

Callaway 2023 Big Bertha Custom Irons

For players who are seeking an iron that is easy to hit with outstanding ball speed, our Big Bertha irons promote outstanding forgiveness in a generous, confidence-inspiring shape. These irons are engineered to deliver easy distance and powerful iron shots, even on off-center hits. Exceptional Launch and Control From Precision Tungsten WeightingPrecision tungsten is used in two ways to improve launch and control. Up to 11g of external tungsten is positioned to promote outstanding forgiveness. And up to 43g of internal tungsten is positioned to create high-launching long irons and easy-to-control short irons. Fast Ball Speeds From an A.I. Designed Face CupA high-strength face cup uses A.I. to optimize speed and spin across the face. Each head throughout the set features a unique A.I. pattern to enhance performance. Incredible Forgiveness From a Confidence-inspiring Bertha ShapeOur classic Big Bertha shape has been refined to inspire confidence at address. Each iron is designed with thicker toplines, wider soles, enhanced offset, and longer blade lengths to create forgiveness and a straight ball flight. Easy To Swing With Outstanding FeelBig Bertha irons utilize lightweight components to provide an easy-to-swing package. Our patented Urethane Microspheres produce outstanding feel while maintaining exceptional ball speeds. Premium Look From A Smoked Black FinishThe all-new Big Bertha irons now come in a stunning Black Smoke finish. This ultra-durable finish creates a premium look in the bag.
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Cleveland ZipCore XL | 116 mph

Cleveland ZipCore XL Custom Irons

Go big and get it close? Yes, please. With all-new ZipCore XL Irons, you get both. AI-designed MainFrame faces and weighting, along with our legendary ZipCore technology, combine to deliver all of the power, control, and confidence you need to hit it far and stick it close without fail. MAINFRAME Designed with the help of AI, MainFrame uses a variable network of grooves, channels, and cavities milled into the backside of the club face on ZipCore XL’s 4i–7i. This pattern helps maximize flex at impact for better COR. ZIPCORE In 8i–SW lofts, ZipCore replaces heavy steel in the hosel and heel with an extremely lightweight yet strong, vibration dampening material. This sets the Center of Gravity right where you strike the ball, giving you more consistent launch, spin, and distance. XL HEAD DESIGN Cleveland’s XL Head Design features a large, cavity back profile with enhanced shaping and weighting throughout the entire lineup.
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Cobra Darkspeed | 116 mph

Cobra DarkSpeed Custom Irons

Unlock your distance potential with an all new hollow construction that createsour longest and most robust iron design yet. POWERFUL BALL SPEED AND DISTANCE A larger PWRSHELL insert and a refined PWR-BRIDGE weight create a moreunsupported face for extreme flexibility and speed. TUNED ACOUSTICS AND FEEL The hollow cavity is filled with soft foam microspheres to deliver exceptionalsound and feel. EXTREME ACCURACY An A.I. designed H.O.T. Face delivers more efficient speed and spin and produces a larger sweet spot for more looks at birdie.
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Ping G730 | 115.5 mph

PING G730 Custom Irons

Maximizing distance was the primary objective in PING’s longest and most forgiving iron to date, generating typical distance gains of approximately five yards from the flexing, hyper 17-4 stainless steel face. Flexing Face By employing hyper 17-4 stainless steel through heat treating, we thinned the face and optimized its overall structure to increase flexing and help lower the CG, delivering higher-launching shots with ball-speed gains and approximately five more yards of distance. Powerful Sound The cavity-back design is supplemented with the proven PurFlex cavity badge that enhances feel and produces a more powerful sound. Extreme Forgiveness The bigger head, more offset and wider sole in the investment-cast design increase the MOI in both axes, elevating forgiveness for improved stability and accuracy in this premium game-improvement design.
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Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.


Jonathan Wall Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at