Is A Driving Iron Worth Carrying – What Are The Pros And Cons?

Golf loves a fashion trend. There are clothing trends, bag trends and club trends, amongst others and today we are focussing on the clubs. For many years the hybrid has been the darling of the golf club market as golfers switched-out long irons for the easier to hit alternative.

However, there is a new(ish) kid on the block, the driving iron. This club is designed to give you the fairway finder you’ve always needed whilst flying lower than a hybrid to help on those windier days. They can be more accurate than a driver on a dogleg, easier to hit than drivers and woods entirely for some and can provide an excellent alternative for those day you are not feeling your driver or 3 wood.

This article will help you decide if this is a club you should be adding to the bag.


The Wind-Piercing Driving Iron

I played with a hybrid in the bag for a while but I always struggled with how high the ball went. After consideration I decided that I needed a change and bought a driving iron, all of a sudden those Scottish winds couldn’t trouble me. That piercing ball flight made all of the difference.

These clubs have their weight more evenly spread through the head, hybrids have more a lower center of gravity, so they give a flatter flight. To all other intents and purposes they are similar but have more of an iron look at address, which many find more appealing.


What Are The Main Uses For Driving Irons?

When I first started out playing the game of golf, I was slicing my driver like crazy, well it was my dads and probably too long, stiff and heavy for my young hands and I quickly learned, hitting a 3 iron was more accurate saving a lot more balls from ending up in the drink.

It quickly became one of my favorite clubs off the tee and fairway, what I really needed however, besides correctly fitted clubs, was a driving iron.

Driving irons have more meat behind the ball so go further than long irons, this is great for a little more yardage.

They have the same benefit for longer approaches that don’t require a fairway wood.

Finally, they can be good for getting out of the rough thanks to their wider sole.


Pros Of Driving Irons

  • Long irons are notoriously difficult to hit and driving irons are their easier to hit cousin.
  • They fly lower than hybrids which can give you more control of the ball in the air and less trouble in the wind.
  • These clubs are perfect additions to the bags of good golfers or could be a spare option.
  • Driving irons are perfect off the tee or the fairway.
  • An ideal club to use when accuracy is at the top the agenda
  • Also perfect for par three’s where the fairway rolls into the green.
  • If you slice Drivers and Woods, a driving iron can be a savior.

Cons Of Driving Irons

  • Whilst easier to hit than equivalent long irons, driving irons are harder to hit than hybrids and fairway woods for most players.
  • These clubs fly lower which can make them harder to use for approaching greens especially ones where excessive roll is going to be a problem.
  • they won’t get you out of the worst lies as well as hybrids can, they are still good though.


What Players Will Benefit From Using Driving Irons?

These clubs are suited to more skilled golfers. You need to be a confident ball-striker to get the best out of driving irons.

They are best for players who like to shape the ball and approach a golf course tactically.

Whilst mid-level golfers can enjoy them, hybrids may suit them better generally.


Do Many Pros Use Driving Irons?

It tends to be tournament-specific, but during the Open Championship you will see a driving iron in almost every bag.

Links golf courses make the perfect playground for the driving iron.

Many pros use driving irons beyond this tournament, tour pros love these clubs and carry them.


Are They Good For High Handicappers?

I would say that high handicappers would be better with a hybrid or a fairway wood.

These styles of club are more forgiving and will suit the skills of higher handicap players better.

I would say that single-figure handicappers and below are the best candidates for driving irons.


How Far Will I Hit A Driving Irons?

Of course this depends entirely on the golfer hitting the ball, however a good rule of thumb is that you should hit a driving iron further than your longest iron and shorter than your most lofted fairway wood.

Something between 220 and 250 yards would be a great distance, 200 yards would be average, 180 would be good for a slower swing speed.


How Far Do Pros Hit Driving Irons?

PGA Tour pro golfers hit it far…really far! Not every single golfer on tour carries the driving iron so it’s not on all of the average distance lists.

The average distance for a 3 iron is about 235 yards and the average 5 wood is about 255 yards so the driving iron is in the middle of that somewhere, let’s say 245 yards


What Clubs Will A Driving Iron Replace?

Usually a driving iron would replace your longest iron, a hybrid or your most lofted fairway wood.

You need to look through your bag and think about the yardage and shot gaps you have to help you make the best decision for club configuration and what you should be carrying.


Can A Driving Iron Replace Your Driver?

This probably isn’t the best idea in the world, your driver should be going considerably further than your driving iron.

If you are really struggling with a driver then think about getting lessons, a new driver or even a good strong three wood to help you hit more fairways.

You could probably use a driving iron while you get better at wielding the driver.


Driving Iron Vs 3 Wood

To me, these are the fairway finder clubs and you should probably have both in the bag.

I wouldn’t say that they are head to head competitors as they can both be really useful. I believe that you should always have three clubs from the tee to give you options for various tee shot situations.


Driving Iron Vs 5 Wood

Now we’re getting into the right territory.

5 Woods are great for high and lofted shots into greens from a distance, they suit inland golf well but the driving iron could be better if you play on links or hard land.

The 5 wood isn’t great from the tee whereas the driving iron excels there.


Driving Iron Vs Hybrids

Personally, I far prefer the low piercing flight and playability of the driving iron to hybrids.

That being said, many higher handicap golfers will get a lot more from hybrids and they are just so versatile. This one comes more down to skill level and desired ball flight than anything.


Best Driving Irons 2021


Taylormade Sim DHY – Best For High Handicappers

The Taylormade SIM DHY is perfect for higher handicap players because it is actually a perfect cross between a driving iron and a hybrid. This club will give you the more piercing ball flight of a driving iron, as well as the thin topline, whilst the forgiveness of a hybrid.

Of course, this isn’t a pure driving iron so it will still fly higher. It is a lovely golf club though and just perfect for golfers who want to move away from a hybrid but aren’t entirely sure what is best. The club also feels great at impact and sends the ball miles!

Overall Score: 96/100

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Titleist U510 – Best For Mid Handicappers

The Titleist U510 is a truly astounding golf club and one that has been added to a lot of bags around the world. This version is slightly larger and more forgiving than the U500 which is the tour preferred version, this makes it perfect for mid handicappers and even better golfers.

The super thin face on this club gives it wonderful feel and the sound at impact is very tasty indeed. It is really difficult to find a flaw with this club, everything about it is just brilliant and it will even give you hybrid-like performance in bad lies. I’m now wondering why I don’t carry this club.

Overall Score: 94/100

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Srixon ZU85 – Best For Low Handicappers

For those who love the look and feel of a long iron but just want a little bit more help in terms of forgiveness and distance, the Srixon ZU85 is a no-brainer option. This club is simply sublime in terms of look, feel and performance. At address it simply looks like a bladed iron.

Whilst this look will inspire confidence in many, it can also strike fear in others so you need to consider that. Srixon is probably the most underrated club manufacturer around and actually, this club is the most used driving iron on tour so what else do you want?

Overall Score: 93/100

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Taylormade P790 UDI – Best For Distance

If all you want from your hybrid is distance, another club to help you rip one down the fairway, then it is hard to see past the Taylormade P790 UDI. This club is a beast and the speed foam creates speed and distance that will just blow your mind, it really is hard to comprehend.

One issue with the speed foam is that it reduces your feel substantially, however many won’t bother about that once they get used to it. If you are used to playing blades then this will feel odd at first but the colossal yardage will help you get over it fairly quickly.

Overall Score: 94/100

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Driving irons certainly aren’t for everyone, I think we’ve established that in this article, however they can bring a lot to your game and your bag. As most of you will know, you are allowed to carry up to 14 clubs during a competition. That doesn’t mean you can’t have spare clubs.

You can have spare clubs that you add to your bag for particular course types or playing conditions and the driving iron is absolutely a club that you should consider for this role. If you want a bit more firepower in your bag then get out and try a driving iron for yourself.