By Paul Myers
One common mistakes that amateur golfers make is assuming that they can treat their iron golf swing the same as their driver golf swing. The two swings are actually rather different, and understanding those differences will go a long way toward playing better golf. Of course there are elements of your golf swing that will apply to both swings, such as tempo and balance. However, it is really the differences that can make or break how successful you are on the course.
Ball in the Air
To start understanding why there are differences between the two swings, think about the conditions from which you hit your irons and driver most of the time. When you hit an iron shot, you usually hit it right off the turf, with no tee propping the ball up. The driver, by contrast, is almost always hit off the tee with some room below the ball. This leads to major differences in the technical aspects of the swings that you need to make. When hitting the ball off the ground with an iron, it’s best to catch the ball on the downswing to get it up into the air. This doesn’t mean trying to hit down per say, but just positioning the ball in a place where the natural swing arc catches it slightly on the down swing. Off the tee with a driver, while you could certainly do this with a driver, it’s better distance-wise to sweep the ball and catch it on the upswing to optimize the launch conditions. Some top professional long drivers catch the ball as much as 10 degrees on the upswing!
Design of the Club
Because they need to accommodate hitting a long shot off of a tee, drivers are built bigger heads than irons are to move the center of gravity around to make it easier to launch the ball up in the air. As the driver is also longer in length, you’ll need to swing the driver more around your body as opposed to up and down. Irons are designed partially to swing more vertically so you can hit down into the turf properly. If you were to try and swing your driver and your irons both in the same manner, you would be working against the design of each of the club and making the game harder than it should be. Take the lead that your clubs are giving you and make a more shallow golf swing with your driver, and a more vertical golf swing with your irons.
While there are some differences between the swings you should make with your driver and with your irons, the balance you have during your golf swing should ideally be a constant. Balance is important regardless of what kind of shot you are hitting, how far you are trying to hit it, or what club you are using. By keeping good balance during all of your swings, you will likely have more consistency in your game that you can build on when you start to make the individual tweaks based on the clubs you are hitting.
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Don’t hurt your golf game by trying to hit your driver in the same manner as you hit your irons. The clubs are designed differently, so you should probably swing them slightly different if you want good results. Many players are more comfortable with one swing than the other, but you can become adept at both if you put in the time and practice each golf swing regularly.
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