Using a Driving Iron on the Golf Course- Advantages and Disadvantages

Have you ever been so frustrated with the driver that you started to hit irons off of the tee box instead? What if I told you that there was a club you could that would give you the same feel as iron but increase your distance. Interested?

What is a Driving Iron?

Driving irons are low, lofted irons that allow golfers to reach long distances off the tee. The golf ball trajectory using a driving iron is lower to the ground as compared to a fairway wood or driver. Here are the three most common driving iron lofts :

  • 2 Iron – 17-19 degrees
  • 3 Iron-19-22 degrees
  • 4 Iron- 22-25 degrees

Compared to standard irons, driving irons generally have a bulkier back of the club, which adds more weight to the swing and the ability reach further distances off the tee. They are different than hybrid golf clubs which are the combination of a fairway wood and iron. 

Here is a quick list of the degrees of golf other golf clubs to get an idea:

Driver: 8-13 degrees
3 Wood: 14- 17 degrees
5 Wood: 19-24 degrees
3 Iron: 19-24 degrees
4 Iron: 22-26 degrees
5 Iron: 27-30 degrees
6 Iron: 31- 36 degrees
7 Iron: 37-40 degrees
8 Iron: 40- 43 degrees
9 Iron: 43-47 degrees
Pitching Wedge: 47-52 degrees
Sand Wedge: 53- 58 degrees

How Far Can You Expect to Hit a Driving Iron

driving iron

Depending on the loft used, a good reference point on the average distance of a driving iron is about 10-15 yards shorter than the distance of a 3-wood. So if you hit your 3-wood 200 yards, you can expect your driving iron to reach around 185 yards if well-struck. Again, a driving iron will provide a golfer with a lower shot that will hit and roll rather than land softly.

Advantages

  • Windy conditions- If you have ever played golf into the wind, you know how much distance you can lose off the tee. With a driving iron, golfers can hit long, low shots that don’t get too high into the air and cause the ball to balloon even higher.
  • Trees- Trees are prevalent on most golf courses and can be frustrating when trying to avoid them. With a driving iron, however, it will become much easier to keep the ball underneath the branches and get the ball out into a better position without sacrificing much distance.
  • Iron feel- Anything that can help boost confidence hitting off the tee can be helpful. Some golfers like the look of irons better than fairway woods or drivers. Driving irons resemble the look of an iron which is appealing to a lot of golfers when setting up at the ball.

Disadvantages

  • Small clubface- Driving irons do have a smaller clubface which makes them intimidating to use for some golfers
  • Consistency-Many golfers struggle with the finding consistency in a driving iron. In addition to the small clubface, driving irons require a golf swing much similar to that of a 4 iron or 5 iron which are hard clubs to hit for beginning golfers.  (Follow the steps below to improve!)

Tips to Hit a Driving Iron Successfully

Golf Ball Position

  1. Play the ball higher in the stance- The golf ball needs to be played closer to your front foot
  2. Don’t break the wrists- During the backswing, drag the club about 2 feet before starting your swing. If you break the wrists to soon and start the swing, you are going to come down too steep at the golf ball and struggle with consistency.
  3. Hold the finish- After making contact, make sure to rotate all the way through the ball so that your chest is pointing towards your target. This helps make sure you are fully releasing the clubface through impact.

Who Should Use One?

driving iron

Driving irons are for any golfer looking to add flexibility to their golf game. The ability to be able to hit low golf shots can be beneficial in poor playing conditions or when needed to hit under trees. The USGA allows golfers to use up to 14 golf clubs, including a putter. So if you are under 14 clubs, it wouldn’t hurt to add a driving iron to your bag!

Where can you Purchase a Driving Iron?

Driving irons are becoming more popular as of late. With new clubface technology and designs, driving irons are more forgiving and easy to use than before.

Here are a few options you can look at: 

  • Srixon Z Utility U65- Great choice for those looking for a clean, iron look at address (Amazon Link)
  • Mizuno MP-18- Multiple options from a 3-iron -6 iron (Amazon link) 
  • Tour Edge Hot Launch Driving Iron- Cheaper option and customizable based on skill level (Amazon Link) 

Related Questions

What loft is a 1 iron?- A 1 iron has a loft of 14-17 degrees. It is similar to the loft of a 3-fairway wood.

What is a “stinger” golf shot?- A “stinger” golf shot is a low tee shot that generates added roll after landing. This type of golf shot was made famous by Tiger Woods.

Can you use a driving iron off of the fairway?- Golfers can use driving irons out of the fairway, but their primary purpose is to be used off of the tee box. Fairway woods offer more forgiveness and consistency when hitting longer shots from the fairway.

 

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