Is There A Difference Between Driver And Iron Swings?

My first steps in my golfing journey created the positive conditions of learning that has been ongoing for 40+years. I will admit that in the past 25 years I have become a student of the game. My path was not always smooth, yet it was one of golf enlightenment. Before I get a head of myself, I realized about 15 years ago that my educational trek will never end and that has helped reduce my frustration will learning new golf skills. Recently, I decided to focus on my driver swing because one of my 2021 goals is to add ten yards off the tee and remain in play. This goal directed my efforts to analyze the difference between my driver and iron set up, swing, and follow through. Not surprisingly, my golf knowledge has grown and I am excited to continue down this current path.

My initial research produced several excellent videos and articles that basically espoused the same swing concepts. If you are interested in a deeper dive into this topic, just plug “driver versus iron swing in golf” and you can sift through the 18 million related topics. For the purposes of this article I narrowed the references down to one video. Rick Shiels sums up the difference between the iron and driver swings quickly and hits the major points. Here, take a look:

Reading more and more information, it became very apparent that I was doing a couple things differently and have decided to make the adjustments accordingly.

First is with my driver; I basically set up in the manner that Shiels describes, however I did not have a pronounced shoulder tilt. I tried this in the past, but for some reason it never worked. To achieve my goal of 10 more yards off the tee, I realized that this shoulder tilt is going be very important. As a result, I consciously make the shoulder tilt to move my chest slightly behind the ball which in turn has changed some other aspects of my swing. Primarily, I have to focus on keeping my head still and finishing slightly higher than my previous swings with the driver. My accuracy has not changed, but I am still working on consistently adding some distance. This is a slow process, but my initial success is reinforcing my desire to continue.

Next is iron position; I have used this following chart to set up my irons with great success. This is the fundamental ball position I was taught at the beginning of my journey. However, since purchasing my Mizuno MP 20 irons, I realize that my ball position needed to change slightly to produce the a steeper angle of attack on decent into the green. I am not surprised that I am still making adjustments and Shiels video about the ball position for my irons aligns my current thought processes. This change I will have to work on at the range, but I feel confident that at the same time I can make the change while playing.

I have always tried to have a descending swing plane with my irons and had to make this ball position adjustment with every set of new irons. For some reason watching Shiels video reminded me to be more conscious about ball position. This aspect of my swing is a change in progress and one that I can easily make.

The changes to my swing are not major. I am still keeping the same tempo and swing movements the same for 95% of my movements. Adding a slight shoulder tilt to my driver would be considered the biggest change, however my swing movements are the same. It is the angle of attack on contact that has changed. I am still hitting the ball straight and making consistent, solid contact. Making these minor changes to my swing are nothing new and fit into my yearly growth process. I am not embarking on a major swing change that would take a year or two to complete. First, I do not think my game needs it and secondly, I do not think my game really needs it.

Regardless of where you are in your golf journey, education and knowledge are key to lowering your golf scores. The driver versus iron swing differences is important for every player. Of course you will make whatever modifications you need to suit your game, but he fundamental concepts will likely be the same. I is up to you to decide to use or discard that knowledge you collect along the way. Me, I choose to use the information this time and watch my game evolve.

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


5 thoughts on “Is There A Difference Between Driver And Iron Swings?

  1. Pingback: A Minor Swing Change That Worked | The Grateful Golfer

  2. Jim, I’m sort of in Kevin’s camp on this one, and feel that you should be able to hit a ball straight from any ball position – with your irons. Forward or back would control the flight more so than direction. If you are continually left with your irons, it may be that your hands and arms are over active than your ball position is off. I’d experiment with different ball positions and try for a slightly bigger shoulder turn to engage the bigger muscles and de-emphasize the hands and arms.

    Ah, the journey continues. Good luck!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rick explains it pretty well I’d say. When working on it, I’d suggest face tape or foot powder on the face to dial in where you’re connecting. Better to do both at the same time. And if you find you’re consistently hitting it low on the face for example, you can try just moving the ball forward or back half an inch and maybe solve it without a swing fix.

    The graphic you have there I’m sure works for you, but I was taught a little differently. The general rule of thumb I learned was to have the ball center stance for the 7 iron and go forward or backward about half a ball to a ball for each club higher or lower.

    I’ll adjust from there for some trajectory/distance control and shot shaping when I have to. And I also will adjust stance width with longer verses shorter clubs. Wider for the longer ones and narrower for the shorter ones. If I need a draw, I find it easier to get moving the ball back a little from normal. It helps the mind give me the proper path I guess. Same on a slice around the corner. I’ll put the ball off my lead toe to execute that kind of shot. It promotes the right path and makes it easier to get right.

    I may play a wedge from center stance, but if I do it’s to hit a specific distance or get over an obstacle. Otherwise, it will be somewhere behind center for a normal swing. Pitches and chips will of course move around too based on the flight and spin needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      Most of what you said is very similar to my set up. Moving the ball back slightly with my irons is paying dividends. I just need to pay attention during set up because my misses are all left, hence the ball is too far forward in my stance. It is definitely a work in progress. Thanks for adding value to the article with your explanations. Have an awesome 4th of July!

      Cheers Jim


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