The long irons are without doubt, the hardest clubs in the bag to hit, of course you wouldn’t be reading this article otherwise.
To sum up the difficulty of hitting long irons, Lee Trevino (my favourite golfer of all time) summed it up beautifully with his famous quip about God, lightning and a 1-iron. I couldn’t have summed it up better myself. A tough club to hit for sure. Luckily, with the introduction of the 3-5 woods, I don’t have to persevere with it as I used to in my younger days!
Whichever iron in your bag is the longest (generally 2-5), the key is making solid contact with the ball. To do that you need to perform a more rounded swing. Here are some tips on hitting long irons consistently.
Widen the arc in your swing
As is often the case, I set up the same on all long iron shots I hit. For a standard long iron shot , I take a widened stance, with the ball just inside my left heel, only slightly more inside than I do with my driver. If I need to keep the ball on a lower trajectory I’ll position the ball further towards my right foot.
I round out my backswing to produce a type of sweeping motion. On the downswing you want to continue on the arc you created on the backswing and strike the ball as you get to the bottom of the arc. This shallow arc allows you to get your head behind the ball as opposed to a steep angled swing which would have your head ahead of the ball and the clubhead hitting down through the golf ball.
If you attempt to hit the ball with the clubhead coming in at too steep an angle, you won’t have a chance of getting it in the air. You can’t rely on loft to get the ball in the air like you do with the shorter irons, instead you have to create the loft using the shallow arc I’ve just touched on. To get a better understanding of what I mean by a shallow swing, watch the quick video below:
Most mid to high handicap golfers tend to try and lift the ball through impact, you’ll see them bending their knees to try and get under the ball, which in most cases will result in a thin shot. Some amateurs also tend to go too steep on the backswing and then try to flatten the arc too early in the downswing, which results in hitting the golf ball fat. Instead, try to remain level and finish off strongly.
You should get the feeling of swinging your arms around your body, whilst you stay tall throughout impact. This way you’ll limit the chances of hitting fat or thin, and begin hitting long irons consistently.
There’s no denying it, even pro’s have difficulty in consistency when hitting long irons. But now that you’re aware of the right way to hit long irons, you shouldn’t be too far away from hitting most of them solidly. In my opinion, there’s no other clubs which feel as good when hit flush than the long irons! Here are some of the best irons that we recommend. Hit em long, hit em straight!
I'm Rob. I'm an avid golf enthusiast and golf tutor with over 40 years experience playing this beautiful but frustrating game. I'm here to offer advice (if you want it) and share my passion with golfers from around the world.