How To Hit Irons Off The Tee (Complete Overview)

Being able to hit irons off the tee is essential in the game of golf.  

Considering that par 3s typically make up 4 of the 18 holes, chances are you are going to have an opportunity to hit an iron off the tee at least 4 times per round.

Being able to capitalize on par 3s when you have the ball in your hand and the ability to tee the ball up will be vital to reaching your full potential in the game of golf.

Let’s get one of the most basic questions out of the way surrounding hitting an iron off the tee.

Should I use a tee when hitting an iron?

Yes, any chance you have to use a tee during a round of golf, you should take advantage of.  Even if it is a really low tee and you just slightly get the ball above the ground.  Ultimately, you are providing yourself a larger margin of error and gaining an advantage in striking the golf ball solid.

How To Hit Irons Off The Tee

Here are the top tips to help you out:

  • Tee the ball lower to the ground
  • Hit down and through the ball
  • Play your stock shot
  • Know your distances
Hit it close on the par 3s and give yourself a good chance for a birdie!

Tip #1: Tee the ball lower to the ground

With a driver, you are going to tee the ball high and let it fly.  With an iron, you want to play the ball much lower to the ground, so that you do not have to change your swing drastically.  Unlike the driver, the iron is designed to make contact with the ground and drive through the shot.  Teeing the ball lower to the ground will still provide you an advantage and a larger margin for error.

Oftentimes in golf, it is not about how good your good are as much it is important how good your bad shots are.  Utilizing a tee and using it right will provide you a better chance of making your below average shots or bad shots, better.

5 Keys to hitting your irons consistently!

Tip #2: Hit down and through the ball

Too often I see higher handicap golfers completely changing their swing on the tee box when they are using a tee.  You want to maintain a swing where you can control the low point and strike down and through the ball, taking a slight divot.  This will help launch the ball at the right angle and create enough spin to hold the green. 

With irons, it is more about distance control versus carrying the ball as far as you can hit it.  The best golfers know their yardages and are able to hit those distances consistently.  

How to hit your irons higher!

Tip #3: Play your stock shot

Hopefully you have a stock shot.  The shot where you know that you can start the ball slightly to the right and let it draw or slightly to the left and let it fade.  If you haven’t developed a stock shot yet, see our drill below for help.

Consistently in golf comes from being able to play a stock shot and controlling the start line and the curve of the golf ball.  Once you have a stock shot, you can really start to manage your game and your way around the course.  Golf becomes fun and you can challenge yourself to control your golf ball throughout the round of golf.

How to develop a stock shot in golf!

The Drill: Stock Shot Drill

  • At the driving range, set up an alignment stick about 6-8 yards in front of you, straight down your target line.
  • If you have a second alignment stick, set the stick 3-4 feet right of the first stick (for a draw) or left of the first stick (for a fade).
  • Complete your initial assessment see how many times out of 10 you can start the ball to the right or left of your target.  Pick one side and measure your game at this point.
  • The goal is to eventually get 7 out of 10 shots to start to the correct side and draw back towards the target.

Here is the drill being explained by Kyle Morris:

Tip #4: Know your distances

When you get to a par 3, it is essential you know your distance to the pin or at least to the front, center and back of the green.  Having this knowledge is important, but even more important is having an idea of how far you hit each club or at least each iron in your bag.

I would highly recommend each golfer create a distance chart like the sample below:

ClubCarry Distance (100%)90%80%
2 Utility Iron210
4 iron190
5 iron181
6 iron171
7 iron163
8 iron153
9 iron143
P Club130123115
Pitching Wedge118110102
SW Club1059791
LW Club908274

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.

They hit one 7 iron 165 yards one time and think this is their carry distance.  So they step up to a 165 yard shot, hit the 7 iron and end up in a bunker.  They blade it out of the bunker and are looking at a double bogey as their reality.  Instead, if they had the right club and hit the 6 iron, their chance of hitting the middle of the green would increase greatly!

How to improve your distance control in golf!

How can you create your own chart?

Option 1: 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:

Option 2: Use a Driving Range or Open Field

If you can’t afford a launch monitor at this time, here is another option.

  • Find an open driving range or open field
  • Take 10 balls of the type of golf ball you play
  • Pick a target and either walk it off or use a rangefinder.
  • Hit 10 shots with each club in your bag and take an average.
  • Your rangefinder can help you get a specific distance.

Go ahead and create a chart of each club and their carry distance like the one above.

Final Thoughts: Improving Your Distance Control

If you can improve your ball striking, have great information on how far you have to hit a shot and then have an accurate distance chart, you will be on your way to more enjoyable golf and lower golf scores!

Take the time to practice and get better, get the right technology tools and understand your distances.  Commit to the process and watch your game improve!  

You better believe that the pros will use a tee when given the chance!

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:

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