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.

Attacking Flags

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!

TaylorMade P790 irons

The TaylorMade P790 is compact but hollow-headed iron. The body has been filled with a polymer-type material that supports the face and helps get the launch conditions exactly right. This has allowed the engineers to strengthen the lofts to maximise distance whilst retaining high-flying, soft-landing performance.

Gear Review: TaylorMade P790

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.

Dustin Johnson Compresses the ball

Dustin Johnson uses a compact iron like the TaylorMade P730. These are the most blade-like irons in the TaylorMade range. There are three other versions of this iron – the P750, P770 and P790 – that offer additional forgiveness while retaining a classic look aimed at low and mid handicap golfers.

Forgiveness Question

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.

TaylorMade P790 v P730

Here is the address view of two classic-looking TaylorMade irons – the slightly larger P790 (left) and the blade-like P730 (right), as used by Rory McIlroy. Both classic looking models, they offer great feel and ball flight control. The P790 should be a fraction longer and more forgiving while the P730 will suit those looking for an all out traditional, blade-like iron and maximum control.

Latest Gear: TaylorMade P790 and P730

Shot Shaping

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.

WATCH: How to hit a draw

TaylorMade P790 sole

The forged TaylorMade P790 iron features thin soles. The forging ensures that whilst the hollow construction maximises distance, the feel remains just what the better player is looking for. Add in the thin soles that easily get through the turf and you have plenty of playability from a relatively compact design.

Slim Soles

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.