Hitting the longer irons in golf can be one of the most difficult shots in golf.
However, when the golfer is able to pull it off, there aren’t many shots that feel better in the golf. When a golfer can get the 3, 4 or 5 iron go high and far, chances are they are swinging quite well. One of the quickest measures of golf to see if you really are swinging well is to test a longer iron like the 4 iron.
But, how about the amateur golfer?
How Should You Hit A 4 Iron?
To play golf at a single digit handicap level, the amateur golfer should hit their 4 iron at least 170 yards. To play at the scratch level, they will want to reach closer to 190 or more. If you a high handicap golfer, there are better club options.
- Pro Golfer = 203 yard carry
- Single Digit Handicap Golfer = 170 yards
- Scratch Level Golfer = 190 yards
- High Handicap Golfer = Better options other than a 4 iron
If we are honest with ourselves, the 4 iron is difficult to hit far enough, high enough and straight enough at certain swing speed levels. If the golfer is struggling to produce enough swing speed, the golfer is going to struggle to hit the ball far enough and high enough.
One of the most difficult parts about the long irons is that even if the ball flies a decent distance, holding the green can be difficult if the shot doesn’t fly high enough.
How to increase distance with a 4 iron?
The golfer can work on one or all of the following areas:
- Increase swing speed
- Increase center face hits
- Improve spin rate
- Improve launch angle
The cremation of the 4 factors above will help the golfer get the maximum distance out of the 4 iron.
#1 Increase Swing Speed
Without a certain swing speed in golf, even with all of the other numbers being perfect, the golfer is always going to struggle with distance. This can make the game difficult if a golfer is hitting a 7 iron from 110 yards out and can only hit their 4 iron 150 yards. The good news for golfers in today’s game is there are options to improve swing speed.
Our number one recommendation is the training tools and training protocols from SuperSpeed Golf.
Even if the golfer optimizes their center face contact and has the ideal spin rate and launch angle for their swing speed, if the swing speed isn’t at a certain level the golf just won’t carry far enough.
Gone are the days of being stuck at your current swing speed or feeling like, “I am just not a long hitter!”
My own personal story around overspeed training saw my driver increase from around 101 miles per hour to a max of 117 miles per hour with an average of right in the 112 mile per hour range. My carry distance with the driver is now right around 270 with a 3 wood carry distance in the low 240s!
If you want extra distance with your all clubs in your bag, start some speed training and then work on optimizing the next 3 areas!
#2 Improve Center Face Hits
As your swing speed improves, you will find that when you catch the ball on the center of the face you will get a higher ball speed and more distance. If you can only raise your swing speed 2-3 miles per hour, but rarely hit the face due to the increased speed, you won’t see a big increase in distance. However, when you can get to 5-10 mph increase and hit the center of the race, you will start to experience more distance with every club in the bag.
#3: Improve Spin Rate
That variable is often overlooked by most amateur golfers, but it is becoming more commonly discussed by amateurs. We have all experienced the power of the spin rate with all of our clubs.
Have you ever hit the shot that seems to fly forever? Chances are you had the right spin rate to maximize your swing speed and launch angle. Or have you ever hit the shot that seems to balloon and not travel as far as usual? This is more than likely a result of having too high of a spin rate, which robs the golfer of distance.
With the 4 iron, the lack of spin might result from a flier lie and the extra distance actually sends the ball too far. Optimizing your spin rate is vital to getting enough distance with every club. Too much spin with any club will reduce the carry distance.
#4 Improve Launch Angle
For every swing speed and spin rate there is an optimum launch angle. Launch angle with the 4 iron becomes important based on whether you are trying to hold the green or hit a runner down the fairway. Being able to produce different launch angles is a sign of a quality golfer. The golfer that inadvertently has different launch angles might struggle with distance control, especially on a windy day.
Testing out and measuring your launch angle is important to understand simple adjustments you can make in your setup, club or swing to produce various height golf shots.
TIP: Seek Feedback Through A Launch Monitor
My number one recommendation for all four of these categories is to get a device like the Skytrak Launch Monitor, which can provide immediate feedback on every shot you hit during your practice sessions. This helps the golfer make adjustments in the swing or the equipment he or she is using.
I highly recommend the Skytrak Launch Monitor. There are two other quality options at a similar price point linked below.
Here are the top 3 Launch Monitor options to check out:
The data you can get after every shot includes the following:
- Ball and Club Speed
- Carry and Total Distance
- Spin Rate
- Spin Axis
- Launch Angle
In addition to this key information you will also see a shot tracer to help you control your clubface and swing path and develop a stock shot to finally play the consistent golf you seek!
MAJOR KEY: Understanding How Far You Hit Each Club
I would highly recommend each golfer create a distance chart like the sample below:
|Club||Carry Distance (100%)||90%||80%|
|2 Utility Iron||210|
This might be the most important information you can use to help you play quality golf. I have heard so many stories and have seen it first hand where golfers completely over estimate how far they hit each iron.
We have all experienced it or witnessed a friend or playing parter go through this scenario: You step up to a tee box on a 180 yard par 3. You pull your 4 iron and only hit it 175 yards and end up in the front bunker. You make bogey or worse and you actually hit the tee shot really solid. If you have good information and had tested your distance, you might have had better knowledge that you 4 iron travels 175 on average and not 180 yards.
How can you create your own chart?
BEST OPTION: I would highly recommend a launch monitor!
These portable devices can be used at the driving range, golf course or set up in your home net or golf simulator. These devices are game changers not only on being able to map your bag and know your distances, but they also provide quality feedback after on every shot and provide the following information:
- Carry Distance
- Spin Rate
- Launch Angle
- Spin Axis
- Total Distance
- Ball Speed
This information will help you map your bag, decide on which clubs are best for your game, develop a stock shot and much more. I love using my SkyTrak 365 days a year in my golf simulator setup.
The process for mapping your bag can looking something like this:
- Hit 5 shots with each club in your bag.
- Log the carry distance and total distance for each shot.
- Eliminate any outlier numbers (poor hits or low spin rates).
- Take the average and create a map of your bag.
If you visit any PGA Tour event you will see plenty of golfers utilizing their launch monitors. While most can’t afford a Trackman, there are some very affordable options in the 500-2000 dollar range. I own the SkyTrak and think the world of it.
Here are the top 3 options to check out:
Final Thoughts: Have Fun!
Whether you are trying to score better through improving the short game or gaining extra distance, make sure you have fun on your journey! The exciting news that golfers can gain distance is a game changer for many. We have seen some of the golfers as they reach 50 actually dive into speed training and improve their driver distance!
Wish you hit the ball further? Here are two great resources:
My Secret To Golf Improvement
Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently. About four years ago, I made the leap and invested in a golf simulator build for my garage. I went with a SkyTrak Launch Monitor and the TGC software and can now play over 100,000 courses including Augusta, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Whistling Straits. St. Andrews and many other of the top 100 courses in the world.
This golf simulator setup, which is more affordable that you might imagine, has been a game changer. I can now play golf everyday of the year regardless of rain, snow, cold weather or time of day. I can practice or play rounds of golf. I can stand in the 11th fairway at Augusta and with the auto-rewind feature I am able to practice my approach shots from various differences.
It is worth checking out through Rain or Shine Golf as they offer some incredible packages along with financing offers that are difficult to beat.
Some direct links to Rain or Shine Golf for pricing and financing:
Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better
What does this mean for you? I believe in the following recipe to get better:
1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor. Here are some options:
Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:
2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed. Here are some options:
Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:
3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier. Here is a series on breaking through:
We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.
4 – Practice Frequently
Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system? It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:
- Is a Golf Simulator Worth It?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator?
- What is the Best Golf Simulator?
- Golf Simulator Accessories?
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for under $7000
- Top 11 Reasons to Buy a SkyTrak
- How to Build a Golf Simulator for Under $1000
- Why Build A Golf Simulator?
- What Space is Needed?
- Can A Golf Simulator Improve My Game?
- How Much Does A Golf Simulator Cost?
- Don’t Forget to Check out our 15 best golf swings of all time.