Being a golfer requires you to be physically and mentally prepared, as well as educated on the fundamentals of the game. Being aware of the physics and mechanics of a golf swing is essential. However, you also need to have knowledge of the different equipment that can be used.
Bearing this in mind, there are a few different types of golf clubs, with the differences mostly being related to the design, material, and purpose. Whether you are an experienced golfer or someone who is enthusiastic about getting on a course for the first time, you have surely heard of a golf iron.
Irons are the most commonly used golf clubs. They are highlighted by thin clubheads and a spin that is set at the clubface. These clubs are considered to be suitable for both beginners and professional golfers. Still, the type of iron that you will be using depends on your experience.
Thus, for beginners, a cavity-back iron golf club is recommended. For those that already have significant experience and skill, muscle-back irons are the ideal choice. Today, it is most common to see a 3-iron pitching wedge that includes eight golf clubs.
You should keep in mind that irons are always numbered and that irons 1 and 2 are virtually out of the game. To be honest, we do think that getting yourself a couple of clubs and focusing on 3, 4, 5, and 6-irons is the best choice.
Now, this is just some fundamental information that is related to what iron clubs are all about. Throughout this article, we will be thoroughly discussing the composition and definition of the iron, as well as how to swing a golf iron. Thus, let’s get right to it!
The Beginner’s Guide to a Golf Iron
We did our best to give you an easy-to-understand introduction. The thing is, the iron is quite complicated if you get into the details and the construction of these clubs. We will leave all that for another article, though. For now, it is important that you know the current market offers a variety of different sets. This includes ones that come with the virtually extinct 2-iron, as well as lob and sand wedges.
If you are a newbie, then investing in a hybrid iron set seems like the ideal choice. Why? Instead of focusing on the muscle-back, blade-style irons, you will get to practice with cavity-back as well as short irons that are suitable for the basics. Before we get into how to swing a golf iron, you need to understand how loft, length, and distance can affect your performance.
Iron and Pitching Wedge – The Differences
When it comes to the difference between a 3-iron golf club and a pitching wedge, things are quite clear. Defining it is as easy as following the relevant numeration. Thus, the lower the number, the longer the golf club is. On the other hand, it has less loft but covers a bigger distance.
What this means is that using a 2 or 3-iron golf club will allow you to go for targets that are further away. However, you should keep in mind that the loft of the shot is not going to be optimal. On the other hand, a 6-iron has a shorter shaft and covers a shorter distance but provides a higher loft than that of a 4-iron.
Not only this but, as you are looking at irons with higher numeration, you should also expect these to offer an increasingly steep angle. This means that, once the ball lands on a surface, it will not roll as far as it would with a 4-iron.
The logic behind this is quite clear. It is you who will need to decide on the optimal golf club for a certain shot depending on the circumstances, as well as how far away the target is.
When discussing length, it is important to note that the 2-iron, 3-iron, and 4-iron all fall under the category of long irons. On the other hand, the 8-iron, 9-iron, and pitching wedge are considered to be short. Meanwhile, 5-irons, 6-irons, and 7-irons are placed in the middle group. This can lead to the conclusion that your best bet is a 5-iron when it comes to a straight shot at an average distance of 125-150 yards.
What you should keep in mind is that the longer irons seem to be the better option for newcomers. The reason for this is because the higher loft allows a beginner more control over the iron. It is easier to master, and the shorter shaft also requires less effort when it comes to the grip. On the other hand, the longer irons with less loft may not be as simple to control. However, they are the ideal choice for more delicate shots where you want a lower launch angle.
Keep in mind that you should be focusing on your hitting technique rather than managing the recommended distance for a certain iron. This is something that you can get to later once you have more experience.
While it may look fascinating to see a professional golfer hit for 200-yards with a 5-iron, it is probably out of your range to begin with. Thus, we suggest that you find your own comfort zone and practice the optimal hitting techniques that work for you.
Why The Iron?
The iron is perfect for when you find that the club will still be descending at the moment of impact between the club head and the ball. To gain the optimal advantage over the dug-up turf or a struck downswing, you will find this type of club ideal.
Keep in mind that you can also use it for hitting a shot from the tee. Still, it is more commonly used in the fairways. As we have mentioned above, deciding what iron you will choose depends on the current situation. For example, if you will need to bypass a high tree with overhanging branches, then you are better off with an 8-iron or 9-iron.
This is because of the high loft, as well as the fact that it is much easier to send a ball at a higher launch angle using this type of a golf club.
Fundamentals of Swinging an Iron
Now, we have explained the concept, as well as basics, of what an iron golf club is. Next, it is time to discuss the basics that you will need to focus on when swinging.
We always emphasize that body positioning is of extreme importance when it comes to where the golf ball will land. If you are in your takeaway, then you should focus on a couple of things. First and foremost, instead of bending from the midsection of your back, you should do so from the waist.
Additionally, make sure that the club is controlled with your arms. This will relieve unnecessary pressure from the wrists. The shoulders, hips, and feet should be properly aligned in a square. Focus on the fact that at the address position, your weight should be evenly distributed and your feet should be pushing through the ground.
This will help you create more power and speed for when the moment of impact comes. Make sure that your back is flat and that your headline is long and pointing towards the ball. The arms are straight while the hands should be pointing to and over the ball.
Our personal opinion is that the best ball positioning is just below your sternum. That seems to be neither too far nor too close and is ideal for ensuring a straight path towards the addressed target.
As you can imagine, how you begin your swing will greatly affect the rest of your swing. The first step of any golf swing is the backswing. You will need to set a balanced tempo and find your comfort zone when it comes to the route that the club follows.
We see a 3:1 backswing to downswing tempo as the best. This will help you avoid the risks of rushing through the process. Actually, it will help unload the generated speed and power at the moment when the clubhead makes contact with the ball.
When it comes to the route that you should be taking with the iron, we suggest you start by moving it back 2 inches. Here, you should make sure that your whole body is engaged in the action and that the torso moves in unison. Once you have moved the club 2 inches back, you should move it up for the next 6 inches.
Consider that your wrists should stay in the same position as during the first step. The moment that this changes is during the third step, when you are moving it from the 8th to 12th inch. The final result should be a club that has a shaft parallel to the target line.
Make sure that the shoulder that is closer to the ball is a bit higher than the other one. This way, you will prevent hanging to the rear side during the takeaway. The only time when this takeaway positioning changes is when you are on rough terrain and you are looking for a steeper angle. In this case, your wrists should be fully cocked during the second and third steps.
Keep in mind that in order to master both the regular and the rough takeaway, you will need days and weeks of practice. Still, the goal is that you are able to maintain the proper body positioning without thinking too much about it.
There are a couple of points that you should focus on here, as well. Firstly, your front arm should be fully extended. While a light flex is tolerable, we see the first scenario as the one that you have more control in. Additionally, keep in mind that, while it should be at a distance, the clubhead shouldn’t be too far away from your body.
What you should be looking for in a backswing is that the shaft is just above your right shoulder if you are a left-handed player. This is at the top of the backswing. Don’t forget that weight distribution is of utmost importance. Thus, go for a full turn and make sure that most of the weight is placed on your rear leg.
As you move towards the downswing, you should be keeping your left (front knee) in check. Make sure that it doesn’t advance over the stick. The idea is that, during this motion, you should be opening your hips and turning towards the target. We suggest that you start practicing a downswing in slow-motion. Then, move on to 50-75% of your potential speed until you are completely confident about it.
At this point, your body position has significantly changed from what it was at the takeaway. Thus, your left arm, shoulder, and front leg should be over the ball, while your head should be behind it. When swinging with an iron, the idea is to focus on descending blows, as well as a stacked position. This is to ensure adequate hand release and keep your wrists cocked at the point of release.
Last but not least is the follow-through and the finishing point of the swing. At this moment, most of the weight should be distributed to the left leg, while the club itself will be positioned just behind your head. How do you know you have properly finished a swing? By ensuring that you didn’t slide during the rotation, especially through the downswing. Additionally, adequate weight transition is of utmost importance for a solid finish position.
The iron is the most common and basic golf club that both beginners and experienced golfers can use. The swinging motion doesn’t significantly differ from the one when you are using a wood golf club. We did our best to run through the most important fundamentals. Now, it is time that you set your sights on the golf course and address these topics through conscious practice!