When it comes to irons, opinions differ. Almost more than with the driver, players have a special feeling for their irons, but not for every iron equally.
When I started the golf course, the 7-iron quickly became my favorite. And I know that many golfers feel the same way. The reason is simple: Nick, the pro on my course, recommended at the time that you first focus on a specific iron to get a feel for the swing, the right grip, the right stance position and the right response to the ball. And that's how many pros recommend it to their beginners.
The normal iron set, which is offered many times and by various manufacturers in a wide range of quality grades, nowadays includes irons 5 to 9. In addition, of course, there are the wedges, which are also irons, but - as described in the earlier article - have a special status as far as their use on the course is concerned.
In the past, iron sets were sold with circumference 4 to 9, but since a 4 iron is difficult to play because of its length and, moreover, hybrid clubs have been enjoying increasing popularity as a substitute for long irons for some time now, the 4s increasingly remained unplayed in the bags and therefore disappeared from the sets on offer.
I myself still have a set of irons including 4s and also reach for this behemoth from time to time. However, this is rarely crowned with the hoped-for success, so that I now also have a hybrid in my bag, which I like to use on longer courses on the fairway.
In general, there is a difference in the way the club heads are made. They are cast (more in the affordable price ranges) or forged. Cast have the advantage of greater durability of the clubface, the forged irons have a softer feel, which becomes more important with increasing skill.
Then there are other differences that are quicker to spot, even visually: The distinction between blades and cavityback irons. Blades are made of one piece, are very thin and have a small hitting surface. They are difficult to play and do not forgive mistakes when hitting the ball. They are therefore the clubs for professionals or ambitious frequent players with high demands and very good handicap.
Amateurs go for the cavitybacks. With these irons, recesses are made on the back of the club head to influence the weight distribution in order to shift the center of gravity further down. As a result, more ball flight height is achieved, independent of swing behavior. This type of iron is therefore easier to play.
An intermediate form are the so-called muscleback clubs. They are significantly thicker overall than the blades, and the center of gravity of the head is higher up, which leads to flatter trajectories and thus greater overall shot distances, since the ball rolls out longer after flight.
In some cases, manufacturers also try to create the "egg-laying lizard" by combining cavity and muscle backs.
The choice of design ultimately depends on the skill of the player. The choice of iron length, however, depends on the desired stroke length.
The smaller the number on the iron, the longer the shaft, the farther the ball will fly and the lower the loft of the club head, i.e. the angle of the head compared to the vertical of 90 degrees.
And this is where it becomes apparent why frequent practice of the swing is so important. Only when the motion sequence is so well established that it can be called up again and again in the same way, only then is it also ensured that a certain and repeatable distance can be achieved with the choice of iron. Ultimately, only then can the choice of the right iron on the fairway be made successfully and be easily read on the scorecard after the game.
Until then - as all beginners know - the choice of iron is always a game of vabanque, because with a 9 iron you can hit 100 meters in one shot and only 50 the next time. The same applies to all irons, of course.
So in order to use your tools correctly and to get the best iron for the next shot out of the bag with a firm grip, there's only one thing that helps: practice. Not the golf course, but the driving range should - especially at the beginning of your golf career - become your living room replacement.
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