Why do golfers insist on hitting their short irons so far?

The following happens all the time.

I hit driver 50-60 yards farther than a long hitting single digit or low double digit.

On a par 3 that is like 200-205, I am hitting 5 iron and they have a hybrid.

Then from a 145, I have a smooth 9 and they have a PW…and from 130, I have PW and they have gap wedge…I love that club. What a marketing genius by the golf industry.


Here are my yardages and unless you are a PGA Tour player or a World class long driver…if any of your yardages are higher or equal to mine…you hit that club too far.

Shorten your back swing and don’t try to hit them so far.

3 wood-280
3 iron-240




  1. Peter B

    Damn that’s quite long, I will train until I am longer. OK just kidding.

  2. s.

    Part of it has to do with club manufacturers and marketing. There used to be a club manufacturer (Edilon) with a blog called “the Wedge Guy .” He wrote:

    “When I was learning golf in the 1960’s, you had eight irons in your bag ranging from 21 to 51 degrees, which allowed you to have a full swing option from 190 yards down to about 100. The sand wedge would give you 85-90 – nine full swings with nine different irons, producing about 9-10 yards difference between clubs. Great.

    “Companies started “jacking up” the lofts of their irons so they could claim that “ours are longer than yours”. Pitching wedges have “evolved” from 50-51 degrees of loft in the 50s to the mid 40s today. Which is what a 9- or even 8-iron used to be. The alterations don’t only apply to loft either. Shafts have gotten longer, too.

    “…now, you have eight irons, with lofts from 21 degrees to 43-44 degrees – eight full swings for the distance of 190 down to 125-130 yards. So your distance gaps are only 7-9 yards, and you are “out of ammo” when you get inside 125 yards – except for your sand wedge and maybe a gap wedge.

    “When pitching wedges started to be made stronger, this trend created the need for “gap wedges” of 52 degrees or so, as the full swing distance “gap” between the sand wedge of 55-57 degrees and the new jacked up pitching wedge (or renamed 9-iron!!) became too large.

    “Now, with “pitching wedges” coming down further — to 43-44 degrees — the manufacturers have created a new “gap” between that and the Gap Wedge.”

    (The wedge in my set is 47º. ) Looks like the solution is to get some obsolete equipment with lousy shafts and higher lofts.

  3. WUZ

    Hey Montero,

    I can hit a 9 iron 300 yards… if I hit it 3 times, and strike it well each time.


  4. Mike from Canada

    Now this I find useful information! This article is going to help my game today.

  5. Gunnar

    “if any of your yardages are higher or equal to mine…”

    hahaha, you´re a funny guy Monte 😉

  6. Calvin D

    I know how far I hit my clubs and it sure isn’t anywhere close to your yardages. 🙂

    It’s a puzzle to me when I’m paired with guys who hit the same approximate distance as me off the tee and they’re hitting a wedge when I have 7 iron.

  7. Damon

    Not sure what clubs you hit, but I play TaylorMade R9, KBS 90 Stiff, 5 – AW. Due to lofts and length of shafts, I really look at this as 4 – PW. Regardless, my distances are:
    5 iron – 190 (in my mind a 4 iron)
    6 iron – 175
    7 iron 160 – 170
    8 iron 150 – 160
    9 iron 140 – 145
    PW 125 – 130
    AW – 110 – 115 (in my mind a PW)

    I can hit the 8 iron – AW further if I really go at it. But I can’t really hit the 7 iron – 5 iron further because if I really go at it, then I just get bad contact.

  8. Doug B

    I could hit it that long, if only I could learn to purposely hold off my lag …… kidding, Monte.

    Clubs are easier to hit longer today. I’m 61 years old and I’m returning to the game after over 10 years away from it (health and injury related issues). I used to use a 6-iron from 150 yards. Now with my new clubs I can hit an easy 7-iron. The point of knowing your yardages is to know how far you can hit a certain club easily and consistently. Too many guys swing from the heels and hit maybe one shot in 10 pure, and they think that is how far they hit that particular club.

  9. Michael

    This game makes me so mad. I hit PW, SW, and LW the same distance you do. That’s about where it ends, and then you gain a club on me or more from 8i up. That’s not fair :/

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Michael, that is the whole point of today’s post. You hit your wedges too far.

      • Michael

        They’re 80% swings?

      • Ben inman

        Hey Monte ,
        Need some help. All my distances match yours exactly up thru 3 wood. I struggle to get drives past 280. Of course I have an occasional 310-320 drive. But they just seem to happen, never when I really need it. I still play reg. Shaft clubs just cause I haven’t had money to reshaft them. Do you think that might be the problem? Any ideas? People I play with don’t understand why I hit a two iron as long as some of my drives, and neither do I. Currently play taylormade burner 10.5 w/ 45″ reg shaft.

        • Monte Scheinblum

          It could be a shaft issue. More likely you have something going on in your swing that delofts the irons causing them to go farther than your club head speed would dictate and the same swing causes too much spin on your woods causing them to go shorter than they should.

  10. Damon

    Monte –

    Just curious, for these yardages are you swinging 80% or so effort? If you really wanted to go at one 100%, how far would say the hybrid, 5 iron, 8 iron, and wedge go?

    When I posted my yardages above, I am swinging around 90% effort. When I try to dial it back, I actually make decent contact but tend to pull everything so right now for me, the extra effort translates into more GIRs.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Damon. The pull is most likely a back swing that is too long and when you dial back, you don’t turn or accelerate the club as hard which causes the club to close sooner.

      I can add 15-20 yards pretty easily to any club and depending on the lie, even more.

      I can hit a 175 yard PW from a slightly fluffy lie in the fairway.

      • Damon

        I think you hit the nail on the head. I don’t turn through enough. I’ve realized I’m a pretty armsy/handsy player. I’ve recently tried hitting the driver by feeling that I do nothing with my hands, and so the only way to square the clubface is to really turn through the ball. I have only done this at the range (hopefully getting to the course this evening) and have hit some awesome drives on a nice, piercing trajectory. The problem is that it take a ton of effort to really turn through! I think I’ve been lazy and let my hands/arms drive the contact. This is OK with the irons, but not with the driver and longer woods/hybrid.

        With the driver I will hit 6-7 fairways a round, but for the other drives I have no idea if it is going dead left or way right. Perhaps with more body turn I’ll gain some consistency, even if it is just in where the misses go. That will make aiming a whole bunch easier!

  11. Wally

    Testoserone poisoning. Hey Wally why are you using a three wood on that par three it’s only 190 yds? Then after it lands in the middle of the green, I say because it works. Most mid handicappers can’t use their tools properly. The real measurment of how well you play is how many balls you loose during a round not how far you can hit any particular club. The late great Ben Hogan maximun yardage for his nine iron was 140 yds regular yardage was 115. you see he knew how to use his tools. P. S. a lot of people do not play the ball where it lies either. How well you hit ball, and how long you hit ball are not always mutually inclusive.

  12. kelly

    No, no, no…

    The real question is, how come so many golfers can’t hit their mid/long irons as well as they hit their short irons?

    Monte, can you show golfers what the difference is between hitting a real solid short iron and what the golfer changes in their swing with the longer clubs that negatively affects the swing.

  13. Brett Picotte

    With the thought in mind that many should quit trying to hit their short irons (and other clubs) too far, what is your opinion of choking up on the club? I just read several articles on it, and many think it leads to better contact and control. I always thought it affects distance, but some argue it doesn’t. Some also think it will help if you’re getting the club stuck.

    I just hit a bunch of balls choking up, and I had good results. I felt like Anthony Kim. 🙂


  14. ray

    Putting this into perspective Monte…your distances from mid-irons down are 10 yards longer than Bobby Locke’s max distances in the 1940’s. Locke’s 8-iron had 50* loft and his 6-iron 39* loft. The wedge was 56*.

  15. Andrew from Addis

    This is so interesting. I am one ofthe better players at our wee course in Addis but am probably the shortest iron hitter among all the people I play with. I pretty much keep up with teh drives but when left with 150 metres, I just swing a nice easy 5 iron with lots of height and plenty of spin. I see may people busting a low 8 iron that they hope will skip up onto our tiny greens.

    I am working on a bit more length but with the woods and 3 iron – I could not give a monkey’s if I need to hit a nice full 9 iron from 100 metres. I hit more greens than most that way. I like this post!

    Andrew from Addis

  16. shipithollaballa.

    MONTE, I am longer then you through out the entire bag by about a club except for lob and sand wedge where we are exactly the same. Its weird for me because I would have to go at a sand wedge like a total maniac to hit it 135. With pure contact my absolute max is probably 125-128. However, 135 is a small piece of a PW for me. Never used a gap wedge in my life but I’m honestly thinking about putting one in the bag. 51 degree maybe, what do you think? and yes I do LD professionally

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Wasn’t talking about someone like you. You obviously can hit the ball that far without over cooking it.

      I was talking about someone who hits it 230 with driver and hits PW 130.

      However, experiment and see if dialing it down gets your greater control.

  17. robert

    I have a question. I hit 3 – SW like you but I cant hit my lob wedge but 60 yards (cg-14 64 degree) I also dont hit my driver 300 everytime average about 285. But I have the hardest time hitting my 3wood of the deck long (280 of tee) 240 of deck and I hit my 3iron 240 of the deck. what do you think?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Just a guess, but sound like you are pulling the handle too hard.

      • robert

        What would be a good way to get away from doing this? I try to have the feel of my arms just following my waist turn and my right elbow in my side.

  18. Doc Haley

    Hate to say it but you are really wrong to give a blanket statement to everyone and expect it to be taken seriously. Each golfer has a different ‘way’ of playing. Everyone from Tiger Woods to Moe Norman. No two golfers are exactly the same and their comfort zone for shots is what makes their game. Quit trying to cookie cutter golfers?

  19. Zack

    Saw your No turn and Cast drill, and absolutely loved it! I took it out as a swing thought in a round this evening, and shot what I have been shooting recently with my game as a complete mess. (playing as a 9-10 index now been as low as 3). I got about half my lost distance back from this! I was hitting my drives about 250 and 7 iron 150, they used to be 260-270 and 160 when i was a 3, but recently had been 230 and 140. My question is what can I do to gain the rest of that distance back? Thanks

  20. Jake

    Here are my distances. I usually hit my irons really well, a strong part of my game, but I have been struggling my last couple rounds ( I am a 7 handicap).

    Driver: 300+ yards.
    3 Wood: 270-280
    3 Iron Hybrid: 250
    4 Iron: 235-240
    5 Iron: 225
    6 Iron: 210-215
    7 Iron: 200
    8 Iron: 180-185
    9 Iron: 170
    PW: 160
    Gap Wedge: 135
    SW: 115
    60 Degree: 70

    I am very comfortable with these distances & I am taking full swings obviously. I was wondering if I should slow my swing down and live with the shorter distances for hopefully better iron play. When my irons are on, I have the ability to shoot even par at top courses, but I have been struggling lately. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Monte Scheinblum

      It’s not slowing your swing down. Those distances are likely from a steep swing.


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