By Paul Myers
If you are an experienced golfer, you likely already know how important the 8 iron is to making birdies. Because of the distance that it covers for most golfers, hitting an 8 iron into a green on a par four is a common occurrence. When you are able to hit your 8 iron a repeatable distance shot after shot, you can greatly increase your chances of hitting the green and making birdies. You don’t need to worry about hitting your 8 iron particularly far – as long as you know how far it is going to go, and what trajectory it is going to take along the way.
Know Your Base Distance
There will always be variables involved on the golf course when calculating how far you are going to hit your 8 iron – things like wind, elevation change, the lie of the ball, etc. – but it can help to have a baseline yardage that you expect under ‘normal’ conditions. From there, you can make adjustments to predict how far a given shot will fly. For a golfer who possesses a 100 MPH swing speed with a driver, a normal shot with an 8 iron should travel around 143 yards. If you can swing a driver at 120 MPH, you should look for more like 171 yards from your 8 iron, and a player with an 80 MPH swing speed will come in at around 114 yards.
Practice a Partial Swing Also
It can be helpful to know how far you can hit your 8 iron with a standard swing, but you are unlikely to run into that exact number too many times on the course. Instead, you will often find yourself in a situation where you need to take a few yards off of your full swing in order to get the ball close to the hole. Spend some of your time on the practice range hitting some partial shots so you get a feel for how far the ball will fly with something less than maximum effort. These are the kinds of shots that pro golfers use all the time, and they can quickly benefit your score once you get them figured out.
Don’t Overdo It
The one shot you should probably really never try to hit on the course is an 8 iron (or other short iron) that needs to fly farther than your normal swing can handle. Swinging extra hard at short iron shots is generally a bad idea, and can lead to poor results. When you are in-between clubs anywhere from 100 – 150 yards, the better option is probably to take the extra club and swing easier. This way, you can focus on your tempo and making good contact with the ball, knowing you have plenty of club in hand for the job.
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