Dan Box
By Dan Box

Now that the 2018 season has finished, we've had a look at the PGA Tour stats and found the best 5 iron players on tour, based upon their ranking in Strokes Gained: Approach the Green. Strokes gained is a measurement device created to analyse the performance of golfers compared to the rest of the field on certain types of shots or holes.

Strokes Gained: Approach the Green measures player performance on approach shots. Approach shots include all shots that are not from the tee on par-4 and par-5 holes and are not included in strokes gained: around the green and strokes gained: putting. Approach shots include tee shots on par-3s.

1. Tiger Woods - +0.938 - TaylorMade P730 TW Phase 1 Irons

It’s official. Tiger is back. Winning for the first time in five years at the Tour Championship at East Lake in September, Tiger has now risen to No. 13 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Woods’ consistent play throughout the 2018 season led to him finishing second in the FedEx Cup ranking and racking up Top 10 finishes in 7 events, including the final two majors of the year.

Tiger Woods Irons

Key to his success was his stellar iron play, which has long been a major strength of his game, and this season was no different as he topped the rankings in strokes gained approaching the green. Woods currently uses a variant of the TaylorMade P730 irons customised to suit him, known as the TW Phase 1 irons.

Taylormade P730 Irons full review here

2. Keegan Bradley- +0.924 – Srixon ZU45 (3i), Srixon Z745 (4-9), Z945 (PW)

32 year-old Bradley rose out of the golfing wilderness with a first win for six years at the BMW Championship, completing his comeback to the top level of the game after dropping out of the top 100 in the world ranking last year. After struggling with the transition to a non-anchored putter, Bradley finished the 2018 season with over $4 million earning and in the top 10 of the FedEx Cup race. Iron play has never been an issue for Bradley however, and his Srixon combo set helped him to second place in the rankings for the season.

Srixon ZU45 full review here

Srixon Z745 full review here

Srixon Z945 full review here

3. Justin Thomas- +0.880- Titleist 718 AP2 (4i), Titleist 718 MB (5-9)

Justin Thomas Irons

Following on from his incredible breakthrough year in 2017, Justin Thomas was able to firmly cement his place amongst the game’s very best players. Thomas added three more victories to his collection during the 2018 season, and ascended to No. 1 in the World Rankings for the first time following The Players Championship. He rounded the season off with an incredible rookie performance at The Ryder Cup, finishing with a 4-1-0 record despite being on the losing side. Thomas uses the Titleist 718 AP2 4 iron, and then switches to the MB irons from 5 to 9 iron.

Titleist 718 AP2 full review here

Titleist 718 MB full review here

4. Dustin Johnson- +0.851- TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto

Johnson recorded three victories in 2018, further cementing his place amongst the best players of his generation, and led the Tour in scoring average for the season with 68.7. Finishing fourth in the FedEx Cup standings, Johnson topped the rankings in SG: Tee to Green and SG: Total, as well as finishing fourth in SG: Approach, proving the overall quality of his game in all aspects. Having been with TaylorMade for all of his professional career, DJ uses the P730 irons which have been designed to suit his specific needs and named the ‘DJ Proto’.

TaylorMade P730 irons full review here

5. Hideki Matsuyama- +0.727- Srixon Z945

Hideki Matsuyama Irons

Despite a poor season by his standards, with just 4 Top 10s and no wins during the 2018 campaign, Matsuyama’s iron play remained strong and resulted in a top 5 spot in SG: Approach. Matsuyama is well known for tinkering with clubs and changes aspects of his bag regularly, so pinning him down to one set of irons is not always easy. However it appears that he played most of his golf this season with a variant of the Srixon Z945 irons which first debuted in 2014.

Srixon Z945 full review here


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