For amateur golfers, should their driver and iron swings be the same?
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15 Professionals Contributed
Yes and No
You are just one golfer, with one swing. And believe it or not, your swing repeats.
Now think about this. How many items are you trying to remember when you make a swing? If you’re like most amateur golfers, you have too many thoughts as you swing. So why would you want to produce a completely different swing for each club, and the driver?
Let’s make this simple. You swing the same way, regardless of what club you hold. But, with the driver, you have to alter where the ball is struck within your swing, because you’ve placed the ball on a tee. So are you really altering your swing? No. Should you adjust how you set up so you can make the same swing with a driver? Yes.
That stated, it might be a good idea to watch the video I’ve included with this answer, so you understand 3 basic set up positions you need to make so your 1 swing can make a great pass through the ball with your driver.
PGA Master Professional
President, North Florida Section – PGA of America
John Hughes Golf, Kissimmee, FL
The swing is not the same with every club!
The swing is not the same with every club! This is one of the points I make with every first time student unless you’re playing with single length single lie angle clubs Every club is built different and therefore the swing plane with each club changes. Basically a pitching wedge swings much more up-and-down and the driver swings much more around.
Wider Flat Bottom With Driver
I believe the fundamental swings of tee shots and irons shots are close to the same, as far as the motions, but I also believe the Driver swing should have a flatter bottom or wider approach to impact then an iron swing. I like to use the correlation of the iron swing to the letter V and a tee shot swing to the letter U or even wider.
The iron swing should be descending down and through the ball and a tee shot swing should ideally be reaching impact on a slightly upward motion. Sometimes I will not stress the upward notion to a student who has issues with trying to help the ball up but this is a great thought for the better player.
I have always been a big fan of the wider bottom of the swing and from my view some of the greatest ball strikers over the years had the greatest width or swung the club down the target line the longest.
Irons VS/ Drivers
I am an advocate that the iron swing and the driver swing should have some differences. When the ball is on the ground it should have a different angle of attack than when it is sitting 2 or 3 inches off of the ground on a tee.
Here is Trackman data that I have;
Driver-1.3 degrees down
Driver-3.0 degrees up
World Long Drive;
Driver-6 to 8 degrees up
I think what you take out of these numbers is on the LPGA their swing speeds are not nearly as fast as on the PGA Tour and they need to maximize their distance. The World Long Drive competitors only make their money by hitting bombs.
Even when I did a deeper dive into some of the PGA Tour numbers the longer drivers of the ball are swinging up on it.
Since most amateur’s don’t have the swing speed of PGA Tour Players they should really look at what the LPGA Players are doing to maximize distance.
Similar but different
I like to describe the golf swing as a U. During the iron swing contact takes place at the bottom of the U. With driver contact takes place on the upswing ideally. With some simple ball placement and making sure you have a bit more spin tilt at address with driver the swings can be extremely similar.
Flatten your Swing for Better Drives
When you strike a ball off the ground think of a tilted Ferris wheel with the club mainly working up and down. This means irons, fairway woods and hybrids need down strike for any height in the shot. Ball position needs to be centered and not too far up in stance to create this angle of attack.
Driver is completely different with ball farther up in stance but still between feet and swing is more like a helicopter blade and more rounded. Quickest way to miss hit your driver is to get steep on the backswing causing numerous problems in the effort to return the club back properly. Perfect practice swing for the driver is to address the ball then lift the club above the ball and make some baseball type horizontal swings feeling the club work around your body and not vertical. This causes face rotation and body coil which equals distance.
Ground shots are vertical, driver swings are horizontal period. Simple thought but so effective for proper contact. Practice and good luck!!
PGA Golf Professional
Director of Instruction
Westin Mission Hills Resort, Rancho Mirage, CA
Yes and No
This is one of those it depends answer. If you want to have a similar ball flight yes the path and face numbers should be similar. If you want to hit a different pattern it might change. Also the feel might be different but actually look the same. In a perfect world there shouldn’t be a big change in your iron to driver swing.
One swing for all.
The golf swing should be the same for all full swings no matter what club is being used. Golf clubs are swung in a circle, the shorter clubs have more arc at the bottom so we take a divot. The longer clubs have less arc at the bottom so less divot. More divot with a wedge than a four iron and less with a fairway metal. If we go by the old wisdom of hit down on the irons and sweep the woods that would mean I need several different swings. One swing for all your full shots for all levels of golfers.
Iron out your swing with the Driver...
We have been told to “hit down” on the irons and to “sweep or hit up” on the Driver…I remember Arnold Palmer in 1965 at the Crosby Golf Tournament on the 1st tee at Monterey Peninsula Country Club the old Shore Course hitting down on his driver…Few hours later saw Jack Nicklaus do the same thing…To me it sure look like they were hitting down on the driver…Saw their irons shots that day they had the same look as the driver…2021 tour player’s do “sweep and hit up” a bit with their driver’s…They really hit down on their iron shots…For the amateur golfer as this website has requested: I think we need to show them both ways and see which style works…
Not even close
Ideal path for a driver is up and 2 degrees right. Ideal path for an iron is down and roughly 2 degrees left that’s a difference of 4 degrees. Irons and woods are built on vastly different angles therefore they cannot swing the same. Most amateurs struggle with driver because they swing it like an iron, it’s probably why driver sales account for a huge portion of equipment sales.
PGA Teaching Professional
Master club fitter/builder
Cog Hill Golf Club, Chicago, IL
Absolutely!!!! They said in Ben Hogan’s prime if you couldn’t see what club he was swinging you wouldn’t know as every swing looked the same.
The key to a repeating swing is to REPEAT IT! Your body gets used to a sequence and that sequence doesn’t need to change unless you are trying to do something out of the ordinary and most players shouldn’t even try that.
The differences between a driver and iron is the ball position–more forward with the woods, the stance width–wider with the woods and spine tilt–more to the trail side with the longer clubs.
The setup, ball position and spine tilt all take care of the way the ball is struck. More with an ascending blow with the driver and any wood off a tee, more with a descending blow with the irons.
Many swings and impact positions in golf
The driver and iron swing can be the same, or different, but impact is definitely different. Drivers are teed up in the air and there is more room for error. You can sway, extend and even jump off the ground and hit it.
Iron shots, when the ball is on the ground, tend to fly further and spin more when there is a negative angle of attack or descending blow. The best iron players tend to stay centered over the ball and keep their spine angle thru impact. But, iron shots on a tee, especially with a long iron can do just fine with a level angle of attack.
"One whole motion" Keep it simple!
Ideally, I would like each of our students to think of their golf swing as one whole motion, a simple and effective athletic move. If you build a core swing based on a foundation of good fundamentals in a step-by-step routine, and feel your natural rhythm and timing, similar to throwing a ball, the swing and the game will be much more effective, consistent, and enjoyable. In general, it will be so much easier if a player executes a simple repeating pattern, and adjusts ball position to account for the change of club, or adjust the length of the swing to control the length of the shot.
There are some pros that teach that the driver and iron swings are quite different and there are some pros that teach they are quite the same. The truth is that you really should have the same swing with every club. However, there are some minute differences between the iron swing and the driver swing. For some people who get too step into the ball, they can pure their irons, but end up popping up the driver. In this case, you might want to create more width in your backswing with the driver to avoid the pop up. Otherwise, the other minute differences are just a change in ball position (more forward) with the driver and absolutely never making a divot ever with the driver as well.
Same swing, different setup
I like my amateur players to keep things simple so I do ‘endorse’ a same swing mentality. I just teach them to set up the body center and spine tilt differently for teed ball, iron swing and short game. That with proper ball position can give them proper attack angle for best contact and ball-flight.
2015 Iowa PGA Professional of the Year. 2004 Iowa Golf Association Professional of the Year
Golf Galaxy, Davenport, Iowa