Better distance control

Some careful detective work will help you find better distance control with irons

Get Your Lofts Checked

If you are serious about your golf and want to find better distance control with irons, it’s a good idea to have your lofts checked. Ideally, you should have around 4˚ between each iron in the bag. However, as more and more of us fly to exotic destinations for golf, it is easy for your irons to be knocked in transit. A degree here or there can make a big difference to how far the ball flies so why not start the competitive season by getting your local pro to check your lofts. Doing this once or twice a year is important if you want better, more consistent distance control.


On Course calibration

The best place to develop a feel for how far you hit each iron is out on the course. What you are looking for is to settle on a number for how far you carry each club (the amount of roll you get is largely irrelevant as this will depend on the ground conditions). So, let’s say you are testing your 8-iron yardage. Hit a couple of shots from what you think is your ideal 8-iron distance. Then walk up to the green and pace out how many yards short or past the flag the ball pitched. Add or subtract this number from the overall yardage and you have your calibrated 8-iron distance. This is a great way to do it as you’ll develop a library of carry numbers to rely on when you have to clear sand or water. Just take into account how far you think the ball will travel when it hits the green and you’ll be all set and ready to make more birdies.

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Tricky distances: Option 1

If your 7-iron goes 155 yards and your 8-iron goes 145 yards, what do you do when you face a shot of 150? This is where your skill and ability to make small changes to your distances will pay off. Your first option, which is my preferred approach, is to shorten the length of your swing. You can either do this by making a more compact move or by going down the grip a little with your hands to shorten the shaft. So in this situation, take your 7-iron but simply aim to curtail your backswing and follow through a fraction or go down the grip - the technique is similar to the punch shot. Which ever approach you choose, make sure your rhythm is consistent with a normal shot. That should help you take five yards off the shot.

Tricky distances: Option 2

The second option is to control distance by changing the pace of your swing. This approach requires great feel as reducing the speed of your swing whilst maintaining the usual connection between your arms and body to hit a straight shot can be tricky. This requires some time to practise the art but if you can develop the feel, you’ll have a great natural ability to control distance throughout the bag.


Distance measuring devices

Think about buying a distance measuring device if you haven’t already got one. By using one regularly you’ll soon build a more accurate picture of how far each club in the bag goes.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X