The Best Golf Swing for Drivers vs. Irons

By Todd Kolb
May 23, 2019

Your Best Golf Swing: Why You’re Not Hitting Quality Shots Off Both Drivers and Irons (and How To Finally Fix It)

Are you deadly accurate with your irons but keep falling short with your driver?

Or maybe you’re the opposite: You’re constantly hitting solid drives but the same quality just isn’t there when you pick up your iron.

It’s a fairly common problem. Golfers find it easy to master one type of club but struggle with the other. And all too often, they misdiagnose the problem.

A lot of people think woods and irons each require a unique swing. They wind up making unnecessary adjustments, confusing themselves, and complicating their swing technique.

The truth is, the best golf swing for drivers and irons is essentially the same. The difference is not in the swing itself, but in how you approach the swing. I’m going to share a few easy adjustments you can make between your driver shots and your iron shots. These tips are quick to learn, simple to follow, and they don’t have anything to do with your swing motion.

Make these minor changes, and you’ll finally start hitting your irons and your drivers with equal skill.

I’ll also share some bonus tips for drawing the golf ball with your driver every single time.

But first, let’s talk about the most important difference between drivers and irons.

Drivers vs. Irons: Angle of Attack

Odds are good that the number one reason you struggle to equal quality between your iron and driver shots is this:

The ideal angle of attack for each club is very different.

When swinging with an iron, you want to catch the golf ball on a descending motion . . . right before the low point of your swing.

With your driver, you need to do the exact opposite. To get a good launch, minimize spin, and maximize distance, you have to hit up on the golf ball. This is, after all, the reason we tee the ball up to begin with. If your driver makes impact on a descending motion, like your irons ideally do, you wind up hitting the ball on the top of the face, popping the ball up, and ultimately hitting a shot that’s cringe-inducingly short.

Fortunately, there is a mind bogglingly simple solution for getting the best angle at impact, whether you’re swinging an iron or a driver. And once again, it has nothing to do with the swing itself.

Adjust Ball Position

To get the right angle of attack with your irons, position the golf ball in the center of your stance. This helps you catch the ball just before the low point of your swing.

For your driver, position the ball more forward in your stance, just inside the lead heel. That way, your driver will be just beyond the low point and starting to travel upward again at impact.

That’s it. It’s that easy.

But if that doesn’t fix your problem, you may not have an attack angle issue. You may be neglecting another important difference between driver shots and iron shots.

Drivers vs. Irons: Know the Objective

When you pick up an iron or a driver, your club selection makes a statement about your goal for the golf ball.

When you swing with a driver, your biggest objective is to hit the ball far.

When you swing with an iron, your greater priority is accuracy. You want to manage exactly how far the ball flies and the direction in which it travels.

With your driver, you want power. For your irons, you want control.

You can achieve one or the other by making just a couple small changes to your swing approach.

Body Movement

To maintain total control for those iron shots, focus on keeping your body centered throughout the swing. When you stick with a steady position and carefully rotate the swing around your body, you are far likelier to deliver a square clubface at impact. This gets you solid contact and a more controlled ball flight.

With your driver, on the other hand, your best golf swing is one that creates speed. You can do this with a couple small adjustments. First, think of twisting through the body to create coil and build momentum. Also think about extending the body through the finish, even physically pushing off the lead foot. Minor changes like these help you load that regular swing motion with a little more energy and a lot more speed.

Shift Weight

This is probably the biggest thing you can do to create momentum in shots off your driver:

Shift weight from side to side as you swing. Start with more weight on your lead foot, shift weight to the trail foot as you swing back, and then shift back towards the lead foot as you swing through.

On the other hand, the best golf swing for your irons involves a little less motion. Again, you want to stay steady and centered with a controlled rotation.

And that really, truly is all there is to it. The only differences you need to think about when it comes to your irons versus your drivers are:

  1. Upward angle of attack (driver) versus downward angle of attack (irons)
  2. Swinging for distance (driver) versus swinging for accuracy (irons)

Now, here are your promised bonus tips for hitting high draws with your driver.

Bonus Tip: How to Hit Draws with Your Driver

A lot of golfers find it easier to draw the golf ball with an iron than with a driver. This is due to that difference in attack angle. When you hit up on the golf ball, it’s harder to hit a draw. We have some in-depth information on why that is, but for now, let’s just fast-forward to discussing solutions.

If you want to start launching the ball higher off the tee and start hitting long draws, take these steps.

  1. Position the ball forward in your stance, just inside the lead heel.
  2. Aim your club path slightly closed (to the right of the target if you’re right-handed).
  3. Bump your lead hip slightly towards the target.
  4. At setup, raise your lead arm just slightly so it’s a little bit higher than your trail arm.

As arbitrary as this advice may seem, all of these tips work together to help you hit up more on the golf ball and guide your swing path a little more to the right. Make a few practice drives with these small adjustments, and you’ll find yourself hitting the nice, high draws you thought you could only hit with your irons.

Recap

As simple as these changes are, I know that’s a lot of information to digest. Here’s a quick snapshot of everything  we went over.

While the best golf swing for your irons and driver is essentially the same in terms of swing motion, you should make minor adjustments between clubs.

For your irons:

  • Position the ball in the center of your stance to make contact on a descending motion.
  • Remain centered in your stance throughout the swing so you maintain control and deliver a square clubface at impact.

For your driver:

  • Position the ball forward in your stance to make contact on an ascending motion.
  • To build speed and increase distance, twist your body as you swing, shift weight between your lead and trail feet, and extend and push up through the finish.

To hit high draws off your driver:

  • Aim your club path slightly to the right of the target (if you’re right-handed).
  • Bump your lead hip a little towards the target.
  • At setup, raise your lead arm just slightly so it’s a bit higher than your trail arm.

Give these tips a try, and I’m certain you’ll start to fill the quality gaps between your driver shots and your iron shots.

But no matter the outcome . . .

 

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