How Different Irons Affect Your Golf Swing
For most golfers, the irons you carry in your bag are the true workhorses of the game. Learning to master the
irons, however, can be a daunting task for some of us. The good news is while successful iron play can be
challenging, it is certainly not impossible.
Here are some tips on how various irons demand a change in your golf swing, and what those changes are.
The Long Irons:
The long irons are the 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-irons. You almost never see the 1-iron anymore. It had about as much loft
to its face as the common putter does, and it was (and still is) one of the most difficult clubs to master.
The 2-iron is almost as extinct as the 1, having been replaced by the hybrid woods now available.
When playing long
irons, it is best to avoid taking too wide a stance at address. A stance that is too wide can result in your
playing the ball too far back. Instead, your feet should be a bit wider than shoulder width, with the ball played
toward the forward foot.
A good long iron shot demands that your body stay behind the ball and that your hands and arms are "pulling"
your body through the impact zone.
The Mid-Irons (5-, 6-, 7-irons)
There are no set rules for playing your mid-irons, other than doing what is needed to make the shot. Mid-irons
are incredibly flexible clubs, and any one club will can perform the job of many other clubs if used properly for
For me, personally, mid-iron play is dominated by my shoulders. As my shoulders turn away for the
backswing, arms and hands follow. This allows for the club head to take an inside the line swing plane. Somewhere
around hip high, my wrists cock upwards, thus putting the shaft on its vertical plane. The right elbow stays in
close and the weight shift begins.
At the top of the golf backswing, about 85 percent of your weight should
be on your right side. It is important to remember to keep your weight centered on the inside of your right foot
and leg, not on the outside.
While your shoulders are at a 90 degrees turn, your hips should only be at 45 degrees. This gives your body the
tension it needs as it begins the downswing.
The Short Irons (8-, 9-iron)
We are not including the wedges here.
These two clubs can be a godsend for those who have trouble playing their wedges. Both the 8- and the 9-iron
have plenty of loft to get the ball up in the air, when needed, yet not so much that they cannot be used for
low-chipping and pitching.
The manner in which you change your swing when playing these clubs depends on the lay and the shot you are
trying to make. For example, if you need to get some elevation on the ball, but only have a few yards before you
need the ball to come down, try weakening your grip. For right-handed golfers, this means rotating the hands
slightly to the left.
One of the most common mistakes made with these clubs, however, has everything to do with your swing, and that
is asking them to do more than they should when it comes to distance.
Many golfers will often try to get 125 percent out of their 8- or 9-iron (in distance, that is) when they would
do better if they tried an 80 percent 7-iron. Playing short irons in golf require that you swing down on the
ball while keeping club head speed. Positioning the ball properly in your stance is the key to performing this
Lady golfers: Remember you can find a detailed equipment guide in the Lady Golfers Guide:
Remember, your short iron swing does not always have to be a full swing and it does not always have to be 100
percent (or more)!