Are Honma XP1 Irons Good for High Handicappers? – Are They Forgiving for Beginners?

The Honma XP1 irons are game-improvement irons that are much more subtle than most modern game-improvement irons. Even though they have features that punch well above the GI category, they don’t flaunt it.

The Honma XP1 irons feature a player’s cavity back which is really the only clue they give that there is some advanced technology at play with these irons. They have a clean look both in the bag and at address. They don’t have a fancy or glossy finish.

The topline is brushed chrome while the sole is a modest polished metal. With the Honma XP1 irons, the company was roughly targeting golfers in the 8-20 handicap range. But did they succeed? Are the Honma XP1 irons good for high handicappers? Let’s find out.

Overview of the Honma XP1 Irons

One of the best features of the Honma XP1 irons is the hollow body design in the long irons.

This is a great feature whether you’re a low handicapper or high handicapper so we can see why the company was targeting such a broad array of players with these irons. Irons 4-7 in this set are hollow which gives them incredible range.

In fact, some of the high handicap testers in our party got max distances of 158 and 152 yards with the 7 iron in this set. The long irons also have tungsten weights near the soles which helps with launch in these relatively weak-lofted irons (the seven iron is 37 degrees).

The short irons have deeper cavities than what you would expect and to be honest, lateral workability is a bit compromised as a result. Spin in all the irons (even the short irons) was also on the low side. We loved the distance of these irons and we think high handicappers will too.

Are They Forged or Cast?

The are forged irons and what’s more, they are made in the same facility as their shafts and with regard to one another during the manufacturing process.

What Types of Irons Are They?

Although the Honma XP1 irons were targeted towards pretty much every kind of player, we would definitely put them in the game improvement category of irons.

How Forgiving are the Irons for High Handicappers?

That will depend on what you are looking for as a high handicapper. The Honma XP1 irons excel at providing explosive distance with minimal effort. What we liked most about these irons for high handicappers is that they don’t require a fast swing speed.

You can have a swing speed of 80 mph or so and still improve your repeatable distances with these clubs. Even the short irons play long. However, mis-hits near the toe and heel will still draw and fade pretty much as you would expect.

The tungsten sole weight does a good job of naturally pulling your swing down and launching the ball high; but if your impact position is errant with these irons, so will your shot.

Shaft Options

You can get the Honma XP1 irons with both iron and steel shafts.

For fans of steel-shafted irons, you can get the Honma XP1’s outfitted with the Nippon NS Pro 950 GH shaft. If you prefer a little more flex, try them out with Vizard 63 gram graphite shafts.

Workability Assessment

If you are the kind of person who likes to draw or fade on command, these irons probably won’t deliver.

But at the end of the day, they weren’t really made to. While the deep cavities in the short irons allow for good precision and accuracy, you won’t be able to work them from side to side very much. There is just not enough dynamism coming off the thin faces.

Distance Assessment

In so many words: the Honma XP1 irons were made to play long.

As far as marketing goes, Honma really buried the lead with these irons. They have incredibly thin faces and the hollow design in the long irons really  takes distance to anew level. Aside from the game improvement moniker, these are your classic distance irons.

Accuracy & Consistency Assessment

The short irons are very accurate in terms of distance control which is a great asset around the green.

What we loved was that we didn’t really get any sailors over the green the entire time we were testing these irons. Short-game distance control is acute even as spin is limited. Consistency is also on-line with what you would expect from game-improvement irons.

Do They Have A Beginner-Friendly Price?

Not unless you are a beginner with deep pockets. A new set of Honma XP1 irons usually retails between $500 and $1000.

Honma XP1 Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Explosive distance
  • Great short-game distance control
  • Hollow-body long irons
  • Low CG
  • Consistent
  • Forged

Cons:

  • Limited workability
  • Sub-par forgiveness
  • Pricey
  • Limited offset

Overall Score: 95/100

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Other Beginner Irons to Consider

Honma TW757P Irons

The Honma TW757P irons have cavity back and toe weighting.

These irons do a great job of covering the areas of the face where new players tend to mis-hit. A good choice for high handicappers.

Overall Score: 93/100

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Callaway Rogue ST Max Irons

The new Rogue ST Max irons have a max of 62 grams of tungsten in the long irons.

They put a lot of punch behind your swing and when you pure them, they offer comparable speed to the Honma XP1 irons.

Overall Score: 94/100

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Cobra Air X Irons

The Cobra Air X irons feature lightweight design with weak loft to promote high flight.

These cavity back irons are great for slow swing speed players who struggle to get the ball up in the air. They also feature strong offset for straighter shots.

Overall Score: 92/100

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Our Recommendation

If you want to send missiles down the fairway, the Honma XP1 irons are for you.

While the price is a bit off-putting, at least the forged construction and effortless distance make up for it. Forgiveness could also be improved; but the Honma XP1 irons excel at increasing distance for high handicappers.