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Playing Irons Only

post #1 of 128
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to share a suggestion to anyone interested--high handicappers (like me) especially.

 

My iron work has been pretty decent lately, my wood/driver work has not. So this morning I decided I would just play my iron clubs. I played from the forward tees, usually hitting my 5-iron for tee shots (a club that I rarely use otherwise).

 

It was a lot of fun being able to hit the long irons more and not stress about driving with my three wood all over the place, or chunking or slicing my five wood. Two long iron shots usually got me close to the green, and helped build my confidence in the longer clubs. If you want to try something different, this is one idea you can try.

 

Not to mention, this was my first round with my new-to-me Ping G15s, and I wanted to get to know them. This was a great way to do that.

post #2 of 128

Definitely a good way to work on your long iron game.  I may try that at my local muni course since it's only around 6000 from the tips.

post #3 of 128

I think for a lot of high handicap golfers, this should be the norm rather than the exception.  I've posted it a bunch on this board - but I'll do it again.  I am paired with players I don't know almost every weekend - and almost all of them are terrible at driver / any long club.  For most of them - not all - I feel like if I were to break their driver in half on the first tee box, I'd shave some strokes off their round.

 

But most of these players would rather hit 1 or 2 really good drives in the course of a round than to score better.

post #4 of 128
I usually play a 4 iron off the tee if the hole is around 370 yards or less, leaving myself with no more than a PW into the green off the fairway. Why would I hit my driver if it gets me into trouble easier? Even if I hit a good drive down the middle, I'll have to hit a tough little knockdown shot as opposed to a full wedge.
post #5 of 128
Basically did it once last season.. Played battle golf with a friend so i hit driver off #1 but the rest of the round with irons. Played off 6750 yards shot 80.
post #6 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meltdwhiskey View Post

I think for a lot of high handicap golfers, this should be the norm rather than the exception.  I've posted it a bunch on this board - but I'll do it again.  I am paired with players I don't know almost every weekend - and almost all of them are terrible at driver / any long club.  For most of them - not all - I feel like if I were to break their driver in half on the first tee box, I'd shave some strokes off their round.

 

But most of these players would rather hit 1 or 2 really good drives in the course of a round than to score better.

Agree. After getting back into golf after a long layoff and struggling to hit woods I played only irons for several months while I was taking lessons. It definitely brought my scores down and if anything I was longer off the tee in general just because a bad drive was more often than not something that didn't go very far. I didn't break 100 until I tossed the long clubs. Eventually I worked woods back into to it but it took a few months. But I think everyone should take the time and make the effort to learn how to hit driver with moderate consistency. My handicap dropped significantly once I picked up distance.

post #7 of 128

My local golf course has a scramble game from time to time that includes goofy stuff like playing only a 7 iron for a par 5 (including putting which is a hoot), but I can get within wedge range with the 7 in three, if not on the green, and sadly can't say I do a lot better starting with a driver a lot of times.  I think a lot of people, maybe myself included, could score as well or better with only the irons.

post #8 of 128
I only just put a driver back in my bag. I haven't played one for several years. I very rarely lose a ball now.
I have improved my striking immensely especially the last 10 months or so. This particular strategy also showed up how much work I needed to do with the short game.

I believe you can pretty much play a stock shot with any club down a fairway if you have a consistent flight. The closer you get to the hole however the more creative it gets. You need variety with your wedge game.

With a 5 iron distance I would struggle to get to a par 5 in three that was above 500 yards. Going round with just irons would be real test though but a lot of fun. It would breed massive confidence as I dont make many errors with an iron in my hand bar catching some irons a little heavy. Nailing your approach shots is the toughest part but that would all depend on how far out you would be for your third shot on longer par 4 or 5's.
post #9 of 128

I have just come home from one of my best rounds (96), and I played irons only.  Was hitting my 3-iron well today.  When I get my handicap down, and become more consistent with my ball striking, I'll start playing the woods -and maybe even a driver one day!

 

36 Stableford points... may have a won a golf ball!

post #10 of 128
I love this suggestion. I'm about to start playing again after an 8 year layoff, and really not playing frequently for almost 20yrs...

My thought process going into this is score, not trying to be a pro. Until I can hit the woods consistently they won't get used on the course. So if I have to hit 5 irons from the tee, and fairway on par 5's, so be it. I'll take par all day.
post #11 of 128
well bogey golf... lol. Might have to grab a 4 iron soon.
post #12 of 128

It's a good strategy as long as you understand that on anything but EXTREMELY short courses you will struggle to break 90.

Not only that you will absolutely hit a wall there because you are relying on one putts for virtually all your pars and you have to pretty much hit each green in one over regulation just for bogeys.

It get sfrustrating when the majority of par 4s have to be played as 3 shotters.

And, believe me, when you are hitting irons off the tee, you have to play very well indeed to give up the distance and then hit a good second and third just for bogeys.

 

Remember, we aren't talking about Adam Scott hitting a 3 iron 260 or 270 yards.

It's bogey golf ONLY if you are an exceptionally good iron palyer and/or you are playing very short courses.

post #13 of 128
Good point, Shorty. In my case though, Im better off with irons now as my woods fly everywhere. When I get closer to 90 I'll need to move on up to the woods to improve.
post #14 of 128

Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus were on the first tee and Lee hit first with the driver. Jack said 'nice five iron, Lee'. Jack then proceeded to pound out a booming drive way beyond Lee's shot. But at the end of the day, Lee  took the low score and replied to Jack, 'Looks like you should have used the five iron more often, Jack.' 

post #15 of 128

I started paying only iron a couple of years ago when I played with a friend women golfer. I started with her on the women forward or back tee and use the iron that matched her driver length. I had fun and since then I regularly play iron only also from the men's forward tees.

post #16 of 128

I am tempted to do the same thing, I hit well with a 5 iron when I place it on a tee but when it's on the ground I sometimes duff the ball.  I have to get to the point where I'm not duffing the ball before I ignore my driver all together.

post #17 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pourputt View Post

Good point, Shorty. In my case though, Im better off with irons now as my woods fly everywhere. When I get closer to 90 I'll need to move on up to the woods to improve.

To Shorty's point, I found that shooting in the low 90s or upper 80s became more of a reality for me when I developed consistency with the driver.....and also fairway woods off the turf.  But unlike most WRXers, I have very average length so I probably get more "value" (more impact on my score) from woods and hybrids.

post #18 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post

It's a good strategy as long as you understand that on anything but EXTREMELY short courses you will struggle to break 90.

Not only that you will absolutely hit a wall there because you are relying on one putts for virtually all your pars and you have to pretty much hit each green in one over regulation just for bogeys.

It get sfrustrating when the majority of par 4s have to be played as 3 shotters.

And, believe me, when you are hitting irons off the tee, you have to play very well indeed to give up the distance and then hit a good second and third just for bogeys.

 

Remember, we aren't talking about Adam Scott hitting a 3 iron 260 or 270 yards.

It's bogey golf ONLY if you are an exceptionally good iron palyer and/or you are playing very short courses.

 

This is a good point - about this strategy having wall as you call it. This is a strategy that benefits higher handicap golfers more than lower for sure.  But I would argue that it can actually enable the higher capper to break 90 as opposed to struggling to do so.  And I say this because this strategy is exactly what enabled me to break 90 (and 80 once) for the first time.

 

For someone shooting a lot of 98's and using driver - they probably aren't hitting many greens in 2 anyway.  And they are hitting a bunch of drivers in the woods - which is a lot worse than a 4 iron down the middle.  So they really haven't sacrificed much by going irons, they are just taking a little safer and more controlled (and maybe boring) route to the same place - which is near (but not on) the green.  But in doing so, they have eliminated a bunch of the 8's and 9's so prevalent on the card of a 98.  

 

Plus there, are more than just the par 4's.  On a par 5, the yardage per shot need to get the GIR is reduced.  So you 4 chances per round to get a GIR on these. Also, there are 4 par 3's - where you hit an iron off a tee and only have to pull off one good shot to get a GIR instead of 2.  So, even if you play all par 4's in hopes of getting bogey, there are 8 other chances to try to get those elusive GIR's.

 

Also, some of the par 4's will be shorter and maybe you hit a good long iron approach here and there for even more chances.  Also, you can occasionally get up and down for a par even if you miss the GIR.

 

I'd say that par 5's, par 3's, the occasional good long approach, and the occasional up and down are 4 chances to get pars.  But in the meantime, you have turned some 8's into 5's because you don't have as much risk off the tee.  So if you can get a bunch of bogeys, 3 or 4 pars, and 2 or 3 doubles - you can break 90.  Whereas if you get into trouble off the tee a few times and get a couple of 8's - it becomes very hard to break 90.

 

It is just a different model than a lower cap would play by.  I think folks who play near par just have trouble getting their mind around this type of play.  But scoring well for a higher capper is more about minimizing damage than it is about hitting great shots.  And irons minimize damage as compared to woods for most players.   That is how I did it for the first time.  

 

Having said all of that - if you start talking about breaking 80 and talk about longer courses, that wall is much more real.  

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