Believe it or not, a top-notch pro golfer like Tiger Woods could probably beat the pants out of percent of golfer out there with only two golf clubs, a 5-iron and a putter.
A pro like Tiger can typically hit a 5 iron up to 205 yards with consistency, meaning for a par 4, 400-yard hole, 9 times out of 10, Tiger would be on the green in 2. And by the way, since we’re comparing distances here, the average amateur hits a driver about 215 yards.
But let’s say you are a rank amateur and want to shoot the best game of golf you can in the shortest amount of practice time. Which clubs would you choose? Well, unlike Tiger, you’ll need a little extra help, so most pros and amateurs too would say go with a 3-iron, a 5-iron, a 7 iron, a 9 iron and a putter.
Before explaining our reasoning, let’s talk just a little bit about the possible irons in your golf bag. Besides the ones we chose, there is the 2-iron, the 4-iron, the 6-iron, the eight iron, and of course the wedges. Interestingly, most beginner golf sets, those designed for young players, skip all of those clubs but add a 1 and possibly a 3-wood.
The difference in irons
what makes the difference between say a 5-iron and a 9-iron? A 5-iron, which a typical amateur can hit? A five-iron has a loft of 28 degrees while a 9 iron has a loft of 41 degrees.
While we hate to lump you in with the short hitters as a beginning golfer, we will be practical and do so, and tell you that the average short hitter can hit a 5-iron 140 yards, while that same 9-iron will go 95 yards max.
Rounding out our suggested bag, the 3-iron has a loft of 21 degrees and the 7-iron 34 degrees. These clubs will typically drive a ball 160 and 120 yards respectively.
Okay, once you’ve got all that, let’s begin to golf.
In our theoretical, irons only scenario, we would tee off with a 3-iron. How much distance will we lose using a 3-iron instead of a wood? Surprisingly little. Studies show the average beginning golfer can hit a wood around 200 yards, however, that’s if he successfully hits it. Hitting a number one wood is infinitely harder than hitting a 3-iron.
Most beginners are like Happy Gilmore, who need three or four tries to hit that wood.
On the other hand, after hitting a bucket of balls at the range, most beginners can hit a 3-iron shot, especially when its teed up. And that ball should go 150 to 160 yards.
In the fairway
As a beginner, it’s your choice between trying to hit the ball in the fairway with a 5-iron or a 7-iron. From experience, most golfers will tell you that the 7-iron is the easiest club to master.
A 5-iron will go further, and you can be on the green in three if you are lucky, but a 7-iron will go at least 120-130 yards, getting you easily on the green in four.
Your 9-iron, for beginners, is for shots from around 50-60 yards, Otherwise, stick with a gentle 7-iron shot.
There you have it, easy peasy golf for beginners. Don’t be intimidated. Get out there and have fun.