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Playing Irons Only


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Headed out tomorrow, irons only. Hoping to minimize the disasters. First round in four years, and still waiting for the woods to arrive at the shop. First post also. Have just gotten back on the horse. Went to the range a couple of weeks ago with some mates and forgot how sweet it felt hitting one out the middle.
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  • 1 year later...
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Part of my motivation for playing an "irons only" round was sheer enjoyment. I've been in a slump with my driver (My driver is actually a three wood). I always push it or slice it severely on the firs

Length without consistency and accuracy rofl. I'd give up 20 yds per club if that meant I could hit it where I wanted pretty much every shot.

I am very inconsistent with a driver or three wood.  I am better with a 7 wood, so I use it a lot off the tee on 4 or 5 par holes.   Sometimes I will tee off with a 5 or 6 iron.  If I do, it will take me an extra shot to get on the green, but I have a lot more control, which I find more satisfying than going for distance and hoping I can keep the ball in the fairway.

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I just discovered/joined this site. Great info here. I've been playing for about 6 months, scoring anywhere between 105-120, HP calculator says I'm at at a 40 currently. I recently had my first swing lesson where we touched on the basic swing fundamentals. Before the lesson I was pretty much going through the basic amateur motions of scooping the ball/no divot, using every club in the bag. But since my lesson I've been applying the fundamentals trying to hit the ball correctly. After the lesson I quickly learned I'm best with my 7-9 irons but really struggle with lower irons. Tell me does this strategy make sense to some of you. I've been playing my last several rounds using only my driver (I hit it fairly straight 150-200yds), 7-9irons, wedges & putter. As I get better I will gradually add the other clubs. I know it will be awhile before my score will start reflecting & I'm fine with that. I just want to hit the ball correctly.
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I am very inconsistent with a driver or three wood.  I am better with a 7 wood, so I use it a lot off the tee on 4 or 5 par holes.   Sometimes I will tee off with a 5 or 6 iron.  If I do, it will take me an extra shot to get on the green, but I have a lot more control, which I find more satisfying than going for distance and hoping I can keep the ball in the fairway.

I just discovered/joined this site. Great info here.

I've been playing for about 6 months, scoring anywhere between 105-120, HP calculator says I'm at at a 40 currently. I recently had my first swing lesson where we touched on the basic swing fundamentals. Before the lesson I was pretty much going through the basic amateur motions of scooping the ball/no divot, using every club in the bag. But since my lesson I've been applying the fundamentals trying to hit the ball correctly. After the lesson I quickly learned I'm best with my 7-9 irons but really struggle with lower irons.

Tell me does this strategy make sense to some of you. I've been playing my last several rounds using only my driver (I hit it fairly straight 150-200yds), 7-9irons, wedges & putter. As I get better I will gradually add the other clubs. I know it will be awhile before my score will start reflecting & I'm fine with that. I just want to hit the ball correctly.

Welcome to the site @GaryB and @awright87 ,

I was just like both of you when I joined this site over 5 years ago.  It came looking for information to help me improve.

Irons only can be a good approach when you are struggling, but you really want to develop your swing for you whole bag.  Your full swing should really be the same for PW through 3W.  The only changes are ball position and width of your stance.  The driver is a bit different, but is also a very important club.  There are a couple of great threads on the driver, the best one is below.

Longer irons and woods can be intimidating if you let them.  Most of us, when we started out, fell into the same mindset of swinging too hard with the longer clubs.  The best advice I got early on was, "Let the club do the work."

There is lots of great information and help available on this site, especially in the Swing Thoughts section.  I would also encourage you to post a video of your swing in the Member Swings section.  Don't be intimidated by doing that.  We all want nothing more than helping others play better.  Check out some of the Member Swings threads to see.

Good luck and remember we play golf mostly to have fun!

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A question for the more experienced players that have played irons only. Do you plan what irons you are going to use on a hole before you play it? Or do you simply tee your longest "straight" iron and play it from there? Or what other strategy do you use?
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I've done it. The longest iron I have in my bag is a 5 iron. I'll hit it 165 yds. However, I usually go to a hybrid off the tee instead. When my driver is misbehaving I can hit my 3 HB and it goes pretty straight about 200 yds. I choke up an inch on the shaft, too, for more control. Or I can go with my 5W for 215. Note: my 5W has a shortened shaft.

One thing that has helped me with driver control is shortening the shaft on my driver from 45-1/2" to 44-1/4". This of course lightens the club, too, but the shorter driver I find is easier to control even though I may sacrifice about 10 yds. Club manufacturers have been making drivers longer to sell distance. Then they have to put all these gadgets like sliders on the club head to help us control the ball flight. It's not because your swing is necessarily bad, it's because the club may be too long for you. That slide adjustment helps the club head rotate back quicker.

I'm 6' tall like Michelle Wie. I found that I slice the standard length drivers. You can set them on draw setting and I'll still slice them. Butt cut them 1-1/4" and I hit them straight, although trust me, I can occasionally slice this, too. I have to be careful and practice my swing.

I have an older 2005 model driver that a neighbor gave me that's 44". It is easier to control. Most touring pros don't play with the 45-1/2" drivers, but play with the shorter drivers.

Take some electrical tape and wrap about 1/8" thick around the butt end of your driver about 1" down and go to the range and see if that helps you. If it doesn't, you can remove the tape. If it does, try it for about a couple of weeks. Play a couple of practice rounds with it. It will let you know if you want to cut the shaft.

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I've done it. The longest iron I have in my bag is a 5 iron. I'll hit it 165 yds. However, I usually go to a hybrid off the tee instead. When my driver is misbehaving I can hit my 3 HB and it goes pretty straight about 200 yds. I choke up an inch on the shaft, too, for more control. Or I can go with my 5W for 215. Note: my 5W has a shortened shaft. One thing that has helped me with driver control is shortening the shaft on my driver from 45-1/2" to 44-1/4". This of course lightens the club, too, but the shorter driver I find is easier to control even though I may sacrifice about 10 yds. Club manufacturers have been making drivers longer to sell distance. Then they have to put all these gadgets like sliders on the club head to help us control the ball flight. It's not because your swing is necessarily bad, it's because the club may be too long for you. That slide adjustment helps the club head rotate back quicker. I'm 6' tall like Michelle Wie. I found that I slice the standard length drivers. You can set them on draw setting and I'll still slice them. Butt cut them 1-1/4" and I hit them straight, although trust me, I can occasionally slice this, too. I have to be careful and practice my swing. I have an older 2005 model driver that a neighbor gave me that's 44". It is easier to control. Most touring pros don't play with the 45-1/2" drivers, but play with the shorter drivers. Take some electrical tape and wrap about 1/8" thick around the butt end of your driver about 1" down and go to the range and see if that helps you. If it doesn't, you can remove the tape. If it does, try it for about a couple of weeks. Play a couple of practice rounds with it. It will let you know if you want to cut the shaft.

I play rounds with only irons for fun. I would tee off with a 3i then use a longer iron for my approach on 5800-6000 yard rounds. It probably would cost me strokes if I played longer courses with irons only. Do you really average straight and 215 yards and 200 yards with your 5W and 3H including shanks, tree hits and tops? If so, that seems long enough to get to a female scratch without your driver. BTW, I think Michelle Wie is closer to 6'3", even though she says she's only 6'.

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This thread has inspired me.

This morning I got up early and drove to a semi-private course I've been playing just lately, even though I'm not a member, to see if they'd fit me in as a single player (normally not a problem during the week, as the course is fairly quiet).

When I showed up this morning, though, there was some sort of post-Christmas scramble for the members, so I decided to leave it. But looking around that parking lot, Good God Almighty...

Enormous cart and staff bags crammed with clubs and other sundry equipment (only the regulation 14 clubs, I'm sure......) being strapped on to the backs of golf carts.

A very impressive array of winter outdoor clothing on display, even though the temperature was actually a mild 45 degrees this morning.

And the thing that amused me most...several people standing in the parking lot testing (calibrating?) rangefinders (I don't know how these things work, as I don't have one), but apparently preparation is important before setting foot on the course....

It looked more like an army preparing to go on maneuvers than an amateur golf competition!

Has it ever occurred to some of today's golfers that maybe they actually have far too much equipment?

Time to toss my irons in my hoofer bag and go and walk around the local muni this afternoon.

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Never play with a club that has less loft than your average score over par.

I don't think this rule of thumb is for us all, because for me that will leave me playing with 9 iron off the tee!;-) Not very realistic for high handicappers, but could be for low-mid cappers?

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[quote name="The Recreational Golfer" url="/t/69462/playing-irons-only/120#post_1090833"]Never play with a club that has less loft than your average score over par.

I don't think this rule of thumb is for us all, because for me that will leave me playing with 9 iron off the tee!;-) Not very realistic for high handicappers, but could be for low-mid cappers?[/quote] Agreed that the idea is to get as much distance as possible, but on the other hand you want to hit solidly. Most people hit a more lofted and shorter iron better than a longer one. His "rule of thumb" on approaches seems to imply playing shorter courses as well?

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  • 1 month later...

The rule isn't meant to be an intensely literal rule, but as a figurative thought that until you have learned to make decent contact on a regular basis, and can hit the ball reasonably straight, the longer clubs get in more trouble than they're worth.

For example, I don't see anything wrong with the idea of a driver being put into play only until you're shooting in the low 80s consistently. For higher handicap golfers, a 3-wood off the tee might well keep the ball in play much more often, at not that much of a loss of distance, and lead to lower scores.

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Hi there

I was a 9 handicapper at a stage but work and family life didn't allow for any golf over 2 years. I started playing about  3months or so ago and was on a 18 handicap and shot in the 90's and 3 weeks ago I shot a 101. This week I left the driver at home and only took my irons, wedges and putter with a 3 and 5 wood. I shot a 87, was really impressed, missed a few silly putts and hit a few poor shots. Didn't touch any of the woods. I played either a 3, 4 or 5 iron off the tee on the par 4's and par 5's on the par 4's I had about 180 - 120m in to the green.

Playing on Saturday again and I will do the same, just work on putting and short game and I should see a difference.

Hit first shot on the fairway, second shot on the green, and 2 putt, sounds easy but doesn't always work.

I made x6 pars and 2 birdies but also had a few "blackouts".

 

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2 hours ago, DirkVirk said:

... I played either a 3, 4 or 5 iron off the tee on the par 4's and par 5's on the par 4's I had about 180 - 120m in to the green...Hit first shot on the fairway, second shot on the green, and 2 putt, sounds easy but doesn't always work.

Keep up the great play.

Unfortunately for quite a few of us in the USA playing "parkland-style" , irrigated courses, hitting a 4 iron off the tee of a 420 yard par 4 makes the green unreachable in regulation.

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If you're having trouble with your fairway woods, move up a tee box and use the 3W and 5W for your drives. It's amazing how your FWs improve if you hit them 24 times a round rather than just 5.

This is also a good way to break in new hybrids: see what all you can do with them, how far they really go.

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1 hour ago, bkuehn1952 said:

Keep up the great play.

Unfortunately for quite a few of us in the USA playing "parkland-style" , irrigated courses, hitting a 4 iron off the tee of a 420 yard par 4 makes the green unreachable in regulation.

Most of us shouldn't be playing from tees that have many, if any, 420 yd par-4's....   ;-)

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I like the idea. Fairway woods have always been an erratic part of my game. I carry a driver and tee the ball high and hit it okay for my age. It is pretty straight most of the time. Now I use no other woods.  For a typical par 5 I hit driver, 3 iron.  A decent 3 iron with no wind is about 215 yards.  Hitting the irons well is the secret to scoring better.  This is especially true from about 120 yards in.

I played a par 3 course with a hippy dippy guy that was a native drummer. He played barefoot and carried only a 7 iron. He parred most of the holes and taught me an important lesson about equipment.  He putted with it by hitting the middle of the ball with the sole of the club. Very impressive for a guy that did not consider himself a golfer.

Edited by ppine
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Last year I played a round and didn't remember that I'd dropped my fairway woods and driver off to be re-gripped until after I'd paid, so I played with all irons. It was a fun and interesting perspective to play a 6,200-yard course (so not overly long) with all irons.  

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Note: This thread is 1640 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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