Why Can’t I Hit My Irons: 5 Common Issues

Typically, poor irons shots can be caused by any of the following:

  1. Poor setup
  2. Poor low point control
  3. Lack of a shot pattern
  4. Lack of swing speed
  5. Wrong equipment

In the golf world, there is much talk about the driver and the short game.

People can often overlook the importance of the irons.

Let’s face it, to have reasonable birdie putts and to take pressure off the short game, we must be able to strike our irons solid and hit greens in regulation.

A score of 75 where you hit 15 out of 18 greens compared to a score of 75 where you only hit 5 out of 18 greens, but scramble for par all day, feel different!

The 15 out of 18 greens round of golf gives you the confidence that you are striking the ball well and hitting quality golf shots.  It leaves you encouraged for your next round.

This type of play is often more likely to transfer from one course to the next because solid ball striking is difficult to beat!

So if you are struggling with your irons, it is time to fix the problem and find a solution.  Below, I will dive into the 5 common faults with irons and give you solutions to help you overcome your issue with the irons.

Why Can’t I Hit My Irons?

My Journey: I have found two things to be the issue in my game or in high handicap golfers. I would say the lower handicap golfer is going to struggle with where the speed might be in the swing. I sometimes become too ball bound instead of keeping the speed past the ball. This can take place if I am unsure of the quality of contact. Meanwhile, the high handicap golfer will struggle with low point control and not make quality contact enough of the time. Check out our drill below for the controlling your low point!

Issue #1: Poor Setup

Far too often a golfer has an inconsistent setup, leading to an inconsistent result.  There have been great golfers that aim way left and great golfers that aim way right.  There have been golfers that play the ball in the front of their stance and always play from the same position, and golfers that move the ball around spending on the club, the lie and the shot they are trying to hit. 

Ultimately, the golfer must be able to find the low point with his or her irons and then set up consistently for where that low point is going to be with the club they are playing.

Solution #1: Test Out Your Options

Find what works best for your game.  Go ahead and use a smartphone to record your swing from the side view.  Try various ball positions and setups until you find the one that allows you to strike the ball solid most frequently. 

I prefer to move the ball around in my stance, but am always aware of the pressure being slightly placed on the front leg, especially with the shorter irons.  This allows the golfer to better control the low point.

When you get to a hole like this, you will be glad you worked on controlling your low point!

Issue #2: Poor Low Point Control

The setup is often the cause of this, but it could be from a lack of actually practicing the low point.  The best golfers are able to control the low point on 99.9% of their swings.  While the worst golfers might only control their low point 50% of the time.  This is the first fundamental in golf, controlling the low point.  It is vital to the long term success of a golfer.

Solution #2: Use the Low Point Control Drill 

The Drill: The Low Point Control Drill

  • Take some yard paint and paint a 1-2 yard long line.
  • Setup with 55% of your weight on your front side.
  • Try to hit the target side of the line and see how many times out of 10 you can do this successfully!
  • Repeat this drill every day for a month, tracking your progress and your ability to to this successfully in trials of ten.
  • You may need to start with half swing and progress to full swings.

If you are struggling, put more weight forward and work on keeping your head still to help control the low point in the swing.

Continue to use this drill frequently until you are in the upper 90% in the controlling the low point.  Focus on making that divot start after the ball with the irons.

Issue #3: Lack of a shot pattern

The tough part about being a bad iron player is that most golf courses have at least 4 par 3’s.  This means you are hitting irons on these holes and could be almost automatic birdies or worse depending on the difficulty of the hole. 

Too many golfers have no idea where their ball will start or what way it will curve in the air.  This leads to fear, tension and ultimately a poor shot.  The best golfers typically play a fade or a draw for 90% of their shots.  They have a stock shot they can build upon and a predictable curve to help eliminate trouble in specific areas.

Solution #3: Develop A Stock Shot

Once you can develop a stock shot, you can play with confidence and actually manage your game vs always fighting your golf swing.  I would highly recommend this drill below:

Here is a wonderful drill you can use to build a stock shot:

  • 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.

*I enjoy doing this drill in my golf simulator setup as I can see the curve of the ball and the spot where my ball hit on the impact screen.  However, it can easily be utilized at the driving range.  See below for more about my golf simulator setup and the impact it has had on my game!

The more difficult the course, the more important your irons become! Make sure you check out the speed training protocols below!

Issue #4: Lack of Swing Speed

When a golfer lacks swing speed it impacts his or her driver and their irons.  The more swing speed, the more distance, the easier the game becomes.   Distance is king in today’s game and can help an amateur improve quickly.  Trying to launch a 3, 4 or 5 iron in the air with a slow swing speed is difficult.  It is also difficult when you are hitting a 5 iron from 140-150 yards. 

Could you imagine if this was a 7 or 8 iron from 150 yards?  You can make this happen with an increase in swing speed!

Solution #4: Train for Speed

Training for speed is a great idea and one worth exploring!

If you are going to train for speed, I would highly recommend the SuperSpeed Training System.

Gone are the days of simply being content with the distance you currently hit your golf ball.  Many older golfers have proven over the past several years that an increase in swing speed is possible.  

There are training systems to help you get your game to the next level and distance is arguably the fastest way to make this happen!

My number one recommendation is to check out SuperSpeed Golf and their protocols to help you find a safe way to increase your swing speed.

I spent many years wondering how I can increase my swing speed.  When I was playing junior golf, we weren’t fortunate enough to have some of the training aids and knowledge that is now available.  Smart people have studied the golf swing and have created training aids and protocols to help all golfers increase their distance!

At around the same time, the statistics from the PGA Tour have become more clear and the importance of speed is acknowledged by many to be a key to being the best on the PGA Tour.

Within the past several years, there have been several products hit the market to make speed gains possible.  While many people for many years waited for the latest driver to come out to gain an additional 5-10 yards, you can now do this even with your current clubs.

Did you know that with the SuperSpeed Training System you can gain 5-8% increase in swing speed as early as the first training session?  This would allow you to gain somewhere between 10 and 30 yards depending on your current swing speed.

SuperSpeed Golf

The SuperSpeed Training System is based on three different swing speed sticks all weighing at different weights.  There is a green club that is 10% lighter than the average driver, the blue club which is 5% lighter and the red club which is actually 5% heavier!

Following their prescribed protocols the golfer completes the training every other day.  The total time to complete most of their protocols is between 10-15 minutes.  Most people can find the time to make this happen.  The golfer will also need a swing radar to measure their progress. 

The science behind the SuperSpeed Training System is based on overspeed training.  Overspeed training has been around for several decades now and has been used by olympic athletics in the sport of Track and Field.  

The science behind this overspeed training is based on the premise that your brain will only allow your body to move as fast as it feels it can stop safely!  So, you get to work and swing the clubs as fast as possible, retraining your brain to allow you to swing your driver faster.

For more permanent results, the golfer should continue these training protocols for several months.  The initial 5-8% is great and can become more permanent with the right length of training.  The golfer can expect to continue to break down barriers every several months at a 1-2% increase.

My own experience has been an increase of 7-10 miles per hour on average from between 98-101 all the way up to 106-109.  My goal is to hit the PGA Tour average of 113 mph in the coming months.  I will continue to train every other day and watch in amazement as I am hitting drivers longer now than ever before!

Phil Mickelson (a senior golfer now) has been known to increase his swing speed in the past year or so and is close to 120 miles per hour in his swing speed.  There are potential results for golfers of all ability levels and age!  

Check the current price on SuperSpeed Golf System, here!

Original Swing SpeedAfter 4-6 WeeksNew Carry DistanceTotal Distance
Your golf equipment matters. Check out the importance of the right irons below!

Issue #5: Wrong Equipment

Too many golfers have the wrong equipment for their game.  Here are some common issues we see:

  • Golfers playing the 40 year old golf clubs from the garage sale!
  • Golfers playing blade clubs when they can barely break 90.
  • Golfers playing steel shafts as they age, instead of making the change of graphite shafts.
  • Golfers are not taking advantage of the easy to launch irons on today’s market.

Golf club technology continues to improve.  Finding the right set for you is such a great help.  Too many golfers just tell themselves, “I will get new clubs when I get better.”  Well part of the process to getting better is actually having clubs that can help you reach your full potential.  It is worth the investment.

We encourage golfers to consider new irons every 7-10 years and a new driver every 3-5 years.  Technology improves and there are some quality options out there.

Solution #5: Attend A Club Demo Day

Many manufacturers host club demo days that allow golfers to try out the range of options.  If you are struggling with your irons, try to find several club demo days in your area and test out the different options.  You scorecard will thank you!

Other Iron Related Posts:

Could you imagine playing 365 days a year? Make it happen and take your game to the next level!

My Secret To Golf Improvement

Let’s face it, in order to get really good at golf, we must practice frequently.  About three 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:

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