These 2024 irons impressed us the most during robot testing

In a sea of strong product offerings, picking just one favorite is never easy. But GOLF’s Fully Equipped crew still tried to highlight the models that stood out during robotic iron testing. During a wide-ranging discussion covering the data points that mattered on the latest 3-woods and irons, the episode concluded with the group selecting the irons that stood out for one reason or another.

Check out the models below, and then head to the 2024 ClubTest hub to get the full rundown on the tech behind each option. And if you haven’t already, subscribe to the Fully Equipped YouTube page to stay up-to-date on all the latest news in the equipment industry.


Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke and Cobra Darkspeed

callaway paradym ai smoke irons
Callaway’s Paradym Ai Smoke iron. Jonathan Wall/GOLF
cobra darkspeed irons 2024 back
Cobra’s Darkspeed irons. Cobra

Gene Parente (Golf Laboratories founder): “I’d have to give the nod to the Cobra Darkspeed and Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke. They were both rock-solid. I’m looking at this through the prism of an average golfer, not an elite golfer. More something I’d like to personally game. It’s ultimately up to the listener to mine this and see what their characteristics are and what clubs could potentially benefit them.”

Kris McCormack (True Spec’s VP of Tour and Education): “I really like the Darkspeed, if I had to narrow it down to one. It’s a sleeper in the drawer that does really well. This year, there’s such a good variety of products out there that can work for so many players. But if you’re putting my feet to the fire, I’ll say Darkspeed because it works for a bunch of player types.”

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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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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Cleveland ZipCore XL

Cleveland Zipcore XL irons back 2024
Cleveland’s ZipCore XL irons. Cleveland

Ryan Barath ( senior equipment editor): “They do not get enough credit for their iron designs, but Cleveland ZipCore XL irons deserve a nod. From a price-point perspective, it’s one of the most cost-effective irons on this list, which is important to note. I’ve hit them and they feel really good, and look really good. It’s an oversized XL, but when you consider the price it’s at and the performance it delivers, it is one of the best values out there. You can go to any of the ones we’ve mentioned, but the Cleveland stacks up to the rest of the pack. It’s a standard cavity-back iron with a lot going on. For a mid-handicap who’s looking for a hollow-bodied iron, it’s a good option. From the data and performance I’ve seen, they are great. If you’re looking for something to try, don’t walk past the ZipCore XL without giving it a shot.”

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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Ping G730

Ping G730 iron
Ping’s G730 iron. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Jonathan Wall (GOLF’s managing equipment editor): “It’s Ping G730 for me. It was inside the top 5 in ball speed, had one of the tightest heel-toe carry deltas and was one of only three irons with a single-digit carry delta on heel and toe misses. It’s a really good iron. No surprise Ping is coming out with a great game-improvement iron. It also has a clean profile with limited offset, even though it’s game improvement. It checks a lot of boxes for the golfer who’s a higher handicap but doesn’t want to play a shovel.”

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 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