Learning How to Tee Off with an Iron isn’t Easy.
Since you’re here, you may already know that. At the same time, learning how to tee off with an iron is a skill worth mastering. Developing a proficiency with your irons will improve your golf score significantly. It will also give you better club options are you approach a par 3 or a tricky par 4.
Without seeing your swing or tendencies, it’s tough for me to give specific advice. However, the basics that I highlight below are really important habits that will serve most golfers well as they look to tee off with an iron.
So without further adieu…
Tip #1 – Tee the ball about 1/4″ off of the ground.
Since you have the luxury of using a tee, you want to make sure you set that tee up correctly. In most circumstances, if you’re looking to tee off with an iron, you’re going to want to tee the ball about 1/4″ off the ground. This means the ball will be teed ever-so-slightly off the ground.
Remember, the face of an iron is designed to give your ball loft, so there is no reason to tee the ball any higher than 1/4″.
Some golfers wonder: “When I’m hitting with an iron, why should I tee the ball in the first place?” That’s a great question. The goal here is to give yourself the perfect lie. If you set the tee a 1/4″ off the ground, you’re creating the lie you would hope for on a fairway.
Tip #2 – Pay Attention to Your Stance & Movement
If you’re struggling to hit an iron off the tee, it’s time to pay attention to the finer details. Dave Myers, a golf instructor in Florida, gives the following suggestions:
…assume a wide enough stance (about shoulder-width) so that if someone tried to push you over, they couldn’t…As you swing back, make sure that the brim on your cap does not move or turn off the ball. If you don’t wear a cap, then try to keep your head relatively still. This will not only ensure a short, compact backswing, but it will keep you more centered over the ball so that you can hit it more solidly.
Consistent contact is the key to your success, so pay close attention to your stance and your movement during each swing.
Tip #3 – Swing down on the ball.
Many golfers, both experienced and inexperienced, will sometimes try to help lift the ball with their swing. Don’t sweep up at the ball. As referenced above, an iron is designed to lift the ball on its own — you don’t need to help it.
If your divot is behind the ball, that’s a bad sign. A good swing means you’ll strike the ball first, then you’ll leave a divot.
Tip #4 – PRACTICE!
It goes without saying — if you want to improve your ability to tee off with an iron, you’re going to need to practice that skill.
How often do you see golfers practicing iron tee shots at the range?
The answer: Not nearly enough. That’s why so many golfers struggle with this particular skill.
David Nesbitt is the Director of Instruction at Boulder Ridge Golf Club in San Jose, California. He gives some excellent tips to help you practice good habits and tee off effectively with an iron.
Do you have other tips that you’d like to share?
Please post them in the comments below. And if you’re in the market for some game improvement irons, see our Most Forgiving Irons post.