In this feature on iron tips for low and mid handicappers, we offer a range of handy pointers from swing drills to equipment choices all designed to help you hit more greens
One of the best iron tips for low and mid handicappers relates to determining exactly how far you hit the ball. Some smart practice might just transform your scores next year – here’s how to do it. Head to the course while it is quiet and hit a shot from what you would consider to be a normal 7-iron yardage, working out exactly how far you are from the flag. Hit as many balls as you need until you have hit the green. Now walk up to the green, stand by the flag and pace out the number of yards short of the flag the pitch mark is. Subtract this number from the overall yardage. This is your carry distance. If you can work this number out for each club in your bag you can be much more precise with your yardages as you play on different courses and in different conditions.
If you haven’t upgraded your irons for a while, one thing you will certainly notice is the extra distance on offer from today’s range of compact irons. This is down to two things: the construction of the iron and stronger lofts. These two elements go hand-in-hand – by working on the internal weighting of the head the engineers are able to get the launch angle up and retain a good amount of spin whilst also strengthening the loft. The result is longer shots that still fly as high and land as softly as they should. If you haven’t changed your irons for five or 10 years, you might find that you are able to hit a modern-day 7-iron as far as your current 6-iron. That’s got to be a good thing!
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Compress The Ball
It doesn’t matter what your handicap, there will be times when your ball-striking deserts you. One of the best iron tips for low and mid handicappers is to hit shots in practice with your feet together. This will help you rediscover your balance. Another great drill is to place a tee peg in the ground just in front of your ball and two inches, in line with the target. All you need to think about is striking that tee. Don’t worry about the ball. This will help you find a more descending angle of attack, allowing you to better compress the ball through impact. This is something the best players in the world, such as Dustin Jonhson, do so well and is one of the best iron tips for low and mid handicappers. Look at how he is driving the iron through the turf. He is compressing the ball beautifully – this is the key to better strikes.
One of the most important questions any players needs to ask him or herself is how consistent is your ball-striking? Mid and low handicappers, while all being proficient golfers, can vary greatly. If you feel that you need a little more forgiveness on off-centre strikes, go for a mid-profile iron. The thicker topline and more peripheral weighting will really help. If you are confident in your striking and are looking for as much control over your distances as possible, go for something slightly slimmer. It’s a tricky one to get right and, as far as iron tips for mid and low handicappers go, our advice would be to be honest with yourself and test at least two versions thoroughly, preferably during a custom fitting.
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As soon as a player develops confidence in their ball-striking we would advise learning how to shot-shape. This teaches you an awful lot about how to control the face and path of your club through the swing. When the pin is tucked away or you’re playing in a breeze, the ability to shape your shots and control the flight will come into its own. If you are looking to shape your shots, a slimmer, more traditional-looking iron will really help you do that.
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Some irons feel fantastic while others can feel a little clunky. One of the reasons for this is the sole design. Thinner soles get through the turf more effectively, maintaining their speed through impact giving a better feel and, often, more distance. If your ball-striking is consistent, think about investing in irons with slim soles – you’ll love the feel and the distance on offer.