Why Can I Hit My Driver But Not My Irons?

The construction of different golf clubs requires you, as a golfer, to use varying setups. However, it is a complex process that takes years of practice to master.

A common question that beginners ask is, why can I hit my driver but not my irons?

In this post, I will discuss the common reasons why you perform better with the big stick than irons. Plus, I shall provide you with tips on how to improve your iron play, to become a better all-around golfer.

Intro To Drivers Vs Irons In Your Personal Experience

Although I am a better irons player, I have found that a driver is easier to launch and is more forgiving.

The larger surface area on the face helps you maintain ball speed, even on off-centre strikes. While the tee gives you an extra platform to launch from.

Despite using innovative technology in modern game improvement irons, you still lose significant yardage on mishits.

Technology aside, your driver and irons require different postures and ball placement in your stance. Many golfers feel more comfortable with a longer club, and as a result, their posture is better off than when setting up for an iron shot.

Finally, as golf coach Paul Wilson explains, your driver induces better hip rotation thanks to the length of the shaft and the setup.

However, irons require a vertical swing approach causing players to bring their hands through before their hips. It also leads to digging the club into the turf behind your ball or topping it.

Overview Of Why You Can Hit Your Driver Well But Not Irons

There is a myriad of reasons why you hit your driver better than your irons.

However, the root cause for most golfers stems from posture, the position of the ball in your stance, and your swing plane. Plus, the optimal ball speed and forgiveness produced by a driver make it easy to launch.

What Are The Main Differences Between Driver Swings & Iron Swings

Wilson explains that a driver requires a flatter swing plane that allows you to connect the ball on your upswing. Conversely, irons need a steeper swing plane to help you strike the ball at the end of your downswing. Therefore generating optimal power.

What Are The Reasons You Can Hit Your Driver Well But Not Your Irons


The extra length of a driver shaft allows players to position themselves in a comfortable posture that promotes optimal rotation. Contrarily, the shorter iron shafts cause players to bend over excessively.

According to Golf Magazine’s Luke Kerr-Dineen, this setup prevents rotation and leads to slices, fluffs and shots out of the teeth.

Swing Plane

Positioning your ball forward in your stance, combined with the leverage of a longer shaft, helps you swing on a flatter plane. This increases the chance of making clean contact with the ball for a powerful launch and long drive.

Irons requirer a steeper swing plane which causes players to hit behind and in front of the ball, leading to a loss of distance.


The oversized profile of a golf driver head enables it to deliver optimal MOI for increased forgiveness and explosive ball speed. The construction of a modern driver face produces accelerated ball speed across an expanded zone of the face to help you send the ball long.

Lower Spin

Modern driver manufacturers pride themselves on the reduced spin their products deliver. That means that the ball achieves more forward momentum and reduces side spin that causes hooks and slices.

Shot Shape Bias

Unlike your irons, many modern drivers are set up to produce varying shot shapes. For example, If you slice the ball frequently, you can position the weight of the driver to promote a draw bias. Therefore combating unwanted sidespin.

What Are The Main Causes Of Not Hitting Your Irons Well In General


As Wilson explains, players tend to hunch over the shorter the shaft of a club becomes. While it feels natural to set up this way to get closer to the ball. It restricts your ability to rotate your hips, causing you to slice, hook or duff your shot.

Swing Plane

Golf WRX’s Dennis Clark highlights that amateur golfers have a tendency to swing their irons along an excessively steep plane, leading to chunked shots and hooks and slices.

Compact Head

The compact profile of iron heads leaves you with less room for error at impact than with a driver. If you catch the ball in the heel or toe of the club, you will lose ball speed. Leading to a reduced launch and loss of distance.

Side Spin

As the lofts of your club weaken, you generate increased levels of spin. While backspin is ideal for getting your ball to stop instantly around the green, side spin can cause you to hook or slice your shot.

Tips For How To Improve With Your Irons

Upright Posture

Revisiting the advice of Kerr-Dineen, we see that it is imperative to hold a more upright posture instead of hunching over.

The less hunched over you are, the more restricted your lower body is, which prevents you from rotating your hips and shoulders. That causes your hands to come through before your hips leading to an open or closed face at impact.

Position of The Ball

If you are topping the ball and sending it along the ground, you may benefit from placing it slightly forward in your stance. That allows you to compensate for your angle of attack.

Conversely, if you are hitting behind the ball, try to place it slightly back in your stance to ensure that the club connects the round dimples first.

Swing Plane

Work on slowing your swing down and focus on reducing the steepness of your plane. The steeper that your swing plane is. The more likely you are to dig your iron into the ground, reducing contact with the ball.

Ensuring You Are Using The Right Irons?

If you are a high handicapper or beginner. I advise you to stick to using game improvement irons that produce the highest level of forgiveness and straight ball flight.

Once you are confident in your ball striking abilities, you can graduate to players distance irons. However, until you are a low handicapper, I suggest sating away from blades.


Q: Is driver swing flatter than iron swing?

Yes, as we see in the video by Paul Wilson, a driver swing is flatter than an iron swing. The longer shaft and posture allows golfers to rotate their lower body and produce a fluid flat swing plane.

The shorter length of iron shafts causes amateurs to bend over and swing along a steeper vertical plane.

Q: Should You Switch To Hybrids For Long Irons?

Although hybrids restrict workability and put faster swingers at risk of ballooning their shots. I believe they are perfect for beginners and high handicappers.

Brian Hill from Golfweek mentions that the low and back CG makes these clubs easy to launch compared to a three or 4-iron, helping the average player improve their long game.

Q: How To Hit Down On Irons?

If we accurately follow the advice to hit down on the ball, you will drive your blade into the turf without touching the round dimply object nine times out of ten.

The more accurate description is that you hit your ball at the bottom of your downswing just before commencing your follow-through. At this moment, your clubhead speed is at its optimum, and the cover of your ball springs back into the grooves to lift high and far.

Swing back and follow-through, rather than chopping at the ball like a Lumberjack. That motion will lead to you duffing your shot or carding a freshie.

Q: Do you hit your driver the same as your irons?

No, you do not hit your driver the same as your irons. The lengthier construction of a driver leads to a different posture, swing plane and positioning of the ball in your stance.

With a driver, you hit the ball on the up. Whereas with golf irons, you strike the ball at the bottom of your downswing.

Q: Are Irons Or Drivers Easier To Hit?

Although, irons contain a weaker loft compared to drivers. The increased MOI, accelerated ball speed and low spin of a driver makes it easier to launch.

Conclusion On Why Can I Hit My Driver But Not My Irons

After looking at why amateur golfers are superior at hitting a driver but not irons, various factors cause this reaction.

For starters, golfers have a better posture with the longer driver shaft than with irons. A straighter spine helps you to rotate your lower body producing more power and accuracy.

In conclusion. The answer to the question of why can I hit my driver but not my irons. It comes down to posture, the ball position in your stance, swing plane and your equipment. Now that you have the solutions to your irons dilemma. Get out on the range and start practising.