I'm not a talented enough golfer to contribute to this thread maybe as intended, but thought I would give my input.
I also prefer to play 9 holes at a time and typically shoot around a 46 so I'm about 6 shots worse than you. I've had a golf club acquisition problem over the years and have put into play over the past few years:
G15 - I have had them for years, but despite the size do not strike them consistently well. I think it is because of the wide soles and my picker "brush the grass" type of impact position. I still have these. I keep thinking after bad stretches that these may be the answer to my problem, but they never are.
718 AP1 - I was fit for these, but they did not work on the course at all. I'm not sure why. I suffered with inconsistent golf and eventually flipped them end of 2019.
716 AP2 - I liked these. They look/feel good. There was a distance penalty, but loft-for-loft I think these did ok. I flipped them end of 2019, maybe I should have kept them. The 4i/5i were inconsistent though and needed hybrid replacement. I think this line of iron is a good compromise.
MP4 - These are the prettiest of the bunch and have great feel. Mine are shafted with XP 105 R300 so the shaft is reasonable for my skill also. I think my inconsistency is a little bit worse than with the AP2s, but the good shots made me feel like I was playing real golf. I still have these.
TE Forged - I bought these early 2020 with a lower flight shaft (DG R300) due to reports of the launch being very high. They feel good and are reasonably sized. I'm only ok with these down to a 6 iron also. Maltby MPF rates these very highly, measurements show MOI is quite a bit less than AP2 but the COG is farther from the hosel.'' I still have these. The shaft may be a bit much and I think I benefit by going lighter.
0211 - I bought these used off PXG Express after the season for what I thought was a great deal and plan to play them this year. They are a little bit bigger than the TE Forged, but are hollow/filled and I'm getting a little bit better distance loft-for-loft on my Mevo. The feel is still quite good. I haven't gotten them on the course yet.
What's the take away from all of this? Scores differ very little. Smaller irons have more "disaster" potential at my skill level and if my swing is God awful on a particular day I may really struggle. It is possible the really good rounds are helped with a more precise iron. I seem to do much worse with a very wide sole, but ideally a little bit of help still.
Personally, I think irons do not make that big of a difference.