Three Golf Iron Clubs

Understanding Your Golf Irons: Selecting, Swinging, Succeeding

Golf irons are the workhorses of your club set. They make up the majority of a standard set (an 8 club set will contain as many as 5 irons) and they each have varying levels of loft which, together, makes them a versatile team of clubs to suit a lot of different situations you encounter on the course.

The different irons are identified by number (ranging from the 2 iron up to the 9 iron) and if you have a larger set (such as a 12 club set), you will probably include one of each. In addition to varying degrees of loft, the irons also differ in shaft length, angles, clubhead shape, and accuracy.

Set of Three Golf Irons

Basically, there is a lot you need to know about your irons in order to select the best ones for you and to get the best use out of them. So this article will cover the different kinds of things you need to consider when looking at golf iron sets but it will also tell you how to use a golf iron.

Golf Iron’s from 2 to 9

Here’s a rough guide of the different kinds of irons, including golf iron distances and golf iron angles:

  • 2-iron: 19 degree loft, 200 yards
  • 3-iron: 22 degree loft, 190 yards
  • 4-iron: 26 degree loft, 180 yards
  • 5-iron: 30 degree loft, 170 yards
  • 6-iron: 34 degree loft, 160 yards
  • 7-iron: 38 degree loft, 150 yards
  • 8-iron: 42 degree loft, 140 yards
  • 9-iron: 46 degree loft, 130 yards

In general, as you move up the line, the amount of golf iron accuracy increases (while the distance you get decreases). That means you have the least control but most distance with a 2-iron and the most control but least distance with a 9-iron.

Also, as you move from 2 through 9, the golf iron shafts get progressively shorter. However, there are still different length options for each iron depending on your height. A taller person needs a set of irons that are on the longer side.

Typically the short irons (8 and 9) are the easiest to use for beginners as they are the easiest to control. A few other things to consider:

Short Golf Iron Club

  • Forged vs. Cast Irons: forged irons have a solid structure which give you a greater feel for the shot and more control over the trajectory but they take more skill to use. For beginners, we recommend cast irons.
  • Blade vs. Cavity Back Irons: blade heads give you increased control over the trajectory but again, take a higher skill level to use well. Cavity backs are more forgiving, making the shot easier but giving you less control. They are perfect for beginners or mid/high handicappers.
  • Steel vs graphite: steel is usually the preferred shaft material because it is stronger, heavier, and cheaper—making your shot more consistent and increasing accuracy. Graphite is lighter, meaning you get more swing speed but it doesn’t have the same feel and it’s more expensive. There are some shafts which blend the two but these are less common.

We recommend getting complete set of irons all made by the same manufacturer. This gives you the most consistency across the group since each one is crafted with consideration for the others in the line.

How to Swing a Golf Iron

The golf iron swing starts with a good grip. If you don’t know how to hold a golf iron, you simply won’t be able to swing a golf iron effectively. Follow these very general guidelines for holding and swinging a golf iron:

  1. Let your non-dominant hand hang in its natural curve. Place the grip of your iron in this natural curve right where your fingers meet the palm of your hand. Cup your fingers around and place your thumb on the shaft pointing downward.
  2. Place the palm of your dominant hand over your thumb (so that both thumbs form a continuous straight line) and then wrap your dominant hand’s fingers around the shaft. Your fingers should be responsible for the grip (meaning you could lift your palms away and the iron would still be secure in your hands). Keep your palms relaxed.
  3. Stand with hips shoulder width apart and bend forward toward the ball at your hips, keeping your spine and neck straight.
  4. For the upswing, lead with your clubhead. Hinge your wrists, bend your dominant elbow, extend your non-dominant arm, rotate your hips (do not bend spine or neck). Raise the club up until it is pointing up into the sky (not pointing down behind you).
  5. For the downswing, reverse this motion but lead with the hands so that the clubhead is always just behind your hands.
  6. For the follow through, continue leading with the hands, pulling the club up to point at the target and then up further until it is behind you and parallel with the ground.

Golf Player Iron Swing

Mastering these fundamentals is essential to improving your game. And it takes practice, practice, practice. Every chance you get, take a few moments to practice your swing. Keep your irons at work with you so that you can rehearse your swing a few times whenever you can spare a couple minutes.

Finally, take good care of your golf iron set. Use golf iron covers to protect the heads from scratches as dents—which can easily happen as your clubs clang against each other in your golf bag. Covers also offer some protection against the elements.

Above all, before you invest in a set of irons, read through golf iron reviews to get a better sense of what you can expect from a specific product. Shop around and try out different irons before you commit to a set.