Playing the Long Game in Golf

The long game in golf is critical to low golf scores.

Hitting the ball long off the tee has it benefits. Anytime my opponents are consistently out driving me by 20+ yards, I wonder if I am missing out on an opportunity to improve my scores. Of course most golfers understand the benefit of the long game as they are closer to the green for their approach shot. There is merit to this logic, however the long game is not only about hitting your driver or 3 wood; it is about you mid to long irons that are hit as often as the woods. The mid to long irons are most ignored clubs in golf and warrant some attention.

For years I was one of those players that ignored my long irons. I use my middle irons consistently, but my 3 and 4 iron were dust collectors. This was the case until I played a tournament round in Kingston, Ontario, where I had to used either of these clubs 7 times in my round. Unfortunately, my inexperience with these clubs cost me a double on 4 of those holes and a bogey on the other three. Talk about wasted strokes.

After my disastrous display of ineptitude, I had two choices; learn to hit them or take them out of my bag. Either solution is valid, so I decided to learn how to use the long game to improve my golf scores. It was a painful journey, but now they are valuable tools in my bag. For full disclosure, I do use a 3 hybrid and a 4 iron; they offered different solutions to any trouble I might encounter on the course.

I hit my 3 hybrid on average 200 yards, but can squeeze an extra 15 yards out of the club if conditions are right. I use my 4 iron from between 185 to 200 yards depending on the shot. However, my 4 iron is also my rescue club for low stingers out from under trees or a shot requiring a slightly longer carry over trouble. I purposely went to a 4 iron to add another dimension to my game and it has paid off famously.

The long game is an integral part of my game. I am not long off the tee, but I compensate by having fairly strong long irons. When hitting into the green from 185 or 190 yards,I have the same expectations of hitting the greens as my other irons. I no longer fear this shot and as a result my scores are reflected my confidence in my long game.

How well do you hit your long irons? Are they dust collectors in your bag?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

6 thoughts on “Playing the Long Game in Golf

  1. Jim, I rely very heavily on my 3 and 4 irons. Mostly on the long par-3s but also for recovery, as you mention, but also as second shot layups on long par-5s when a 3wd might take on too much trouble near the green. My 3 and 4 are actually Mizuno H4s which are iron hybrids. They look more like irons but have a wider sole for better play out of the rough. I love the utility of these clubs.



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  2. Love my long irons. Besides hitting my 3 iron off the tee on a couple of holes almost every game and for the occasional approach shot, I find the 3 and 4 irons are also very useful as get out of jail clubs. If I need to slice or hook my way out of trouble, long irons are my tool of choice for the job. The one club in my bag that gets used least in my lob wedge.

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