The long Iron, friend or foe? How to strike long irons consistently well

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We have seen many advancements in golf club technology over the last few years, especially trying to help the golfer hit smooth, consistent long irons. For many golfers they have decided that the answer to the questions in the title of this article, friend or foe? for them is definitely foe. And they have moved onto other options like rescue clubs ( see article – How a rescue club can save your score)

However, for many golfers the ability to hit long irons consistently well is vitally important for them to play golf well. For example if your course has some particularly long par 3’s that will take a longer iron to reach them. Or you have some short par 4’s and would like another safer alternative off the tee. Then a longer iron could be a good option. In this post we will discuss how to hit consistent, good long iron shots and give you some drills to take to the practice ground.

Firstly let’s start with ball position. Your longer irons should be positioned just inside your left heel. This means that the ball is slightly further forward than your middle irons. We use this froward ball position to create a sweeping motion during the swing. It is very difficult to compress a longer iron and should be left to the pro’s. Try laying down a club on the ground when you are on the practice tee, lay it along the line of your left heel with the butt of the club where you would position the ball. This will help you get a consistent ball position for your longer irons.

Next we want you to think of tempo. Many golfers think that the longer irons need to be helped along with a faster swing. In fact, the swing should be the same for all shots. A good exercise is to count your swing one and two. One being the backswing, and is the transition, and two is your down swing. This drill will help you maintain good tempo throughout your swing and avoid you swinging too fast.

Be committed. Your longer irons more than any other club need a positive strike to get them airborne. This means that a gentle three quarter swing will usually end in a poor shot. When you select your three or four iron out of your bag. Think ‘positive strike on the ball’, select your target, go through your pre-shot routine and then commit to your swing. Try this on the practice tee, getting your three iron out of your bag, playing your shot, putting the club back and then repeating. This is a great drill to keep you focused on your swing thoughts and shot in hand.

Be aware of the flight of your longer irons and play to their strengths. What we mean by this is if you are looking for a high flying, softer landing shot then a three iron is not the club to choose. However, if you are wanting a more penetrating  ball flight that will roll on landing and chase up to the green, then a three or four iron may be the club to choose. You need to visualise the shot you want to play and select the appropriate club to do the job.

A final thought. If you want to hit your longer irons with a lower flight, maybe into a strong headwind then choke down on the club a little. This will result in a lower ball flight and usually a straighter shot ..

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The Golf Talk team