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High Iron Shots vs Hitting Down on Irons: Tale of Two Techniques

Golfers are always looking for ways to improve their iron play. Two common swing adjustments players make are learning how to hit high iron shots and learning how to hit down on their irons. While both can be helpful, they are quite different techniques. This article will examine the key differences between golf swing tips for high iron shots versus tips for hitting down on irons.

Understanding the Trajectory Differences

The most obvious difference between these two techniques is the resulting ball flight trajectory.

High iron shots launch the ball into the air on a steep climb. These shots fly very high but don’t roll much once they land. High trajectory shots are useful when wanting to clear hazards or land softly on firm greens.

Hitting down on irons keeps the trajectory lower. The clubhead strikes the ball on a descending blow which imparts lower spin. This allows the ball to run more once it hits the ground. Lower flying iron shots are great for keeping under tree branches and making the ball roll on the fairway or green.

So high irons fly up, hitting down makes the ball bore. Got it. Now let’s examine the swing adjustments that produce these differing trajectories.

Swing Changes for High Flying Irons

Generating those high, soaring iron shots requires some specific swing tweaks. Here are some tips for producing a high launching ball flight:

  • Ball position – Play the ball slightly forward in your stance to catch it on the upswing. This helps lift it into the air.
  • Weight shift – Maintaining weight on your front foot through impact prevents the clubhead from descending too steeply.
  • Wrist action – Allow your wrists to hinge more on the backswing and release faster on the downswing. This adds loft at impact.
  • Angle of attack – Swing up on the ball by leaning your upper body back slightly at address. This promotes a positive angle of attack.
  • Club selection – Use a lower lofted iron to help compensate for the extra loft you’re adding with your swing adjustments.

Mastering these swing positions and motions will have you hitting laser-like iron shots that seem to hang in the sky before floating down to the target.

The Right Position For The Ball

The position of your golf ball really matters when it comes to how high your iron shots will go. We usually suggest placing the ball towards the front of your stance. If you want those lofted iron shots to go even higher, you’ll need to give your swing a bit of an upward boost as it goes through the ball.

Putting the ball in front of your stance helps make sure that your hit adds some nice height to the ball instead of decreasing its flight. Just be careful not to go to the extreme where you end up playing it as if you were using a driver.

Make sure Weight Distribution Before Your Shots

So, here’s the deal – if you want to hit those irons higher in golf, you gotta pay attention to how you balance your weight during setup. Basically, it’s all about how you spread your weight between your right and left legs when you’re getting ready to swing. When you’re setting up, make sure to put more weight on your right side (if you’re a right-handed golfer) compared to your left side. This way, when you take your swing, you can turn smoothly while loading up your right side.

Now, wrapping your head around this weight distribution stuff might take a bit. It’s not super easy to find the right balance and position for your swing. Also, remember to keep some space on your right side. This space lets you turn back comfortably when you need to. Bottom line, if you overload your right side, it’s gonna be tough to smoothly turn when you’re taking your club back.

Giving more weight to your right side sets you up for success as you transition and move through your golf swing. Yeah, getting the hang of weight distribution can be a bit tricky, but with practice, you’ll figure out what works best for you.

Get the Right Angle for Your Club Face

Making sure your clubface is in the right position can really impact how high your golf ball goes. Contrary to what many golfers might think, you don’t necessarily have to open up the angle of your clubface, but you do need to make sure it’s at least square.

We’ve seen situations where golfers close the clubface of their irons because they think it’ll help reduce slices in their shots. Sadly, this technique doesn’t often work well for fixing slices. That’s why experts usually recommend focusing on having a square clubface when you hit the ball, rather than trying too hard to compensate by hitting with a closed face.

Technique for Hitting Down on Iron Shots

To keep your iron shots boring low and chasing after distance, utilize these tips:

  • Ball position – Play the ball slighter further back in your stance, closer to your trail foot. This allows for a downward strike.
  • Weight shift – Your weight should shift predominantly onto your trail side during the downswing, facilitating a descending blow.
  • Wrist action – Limit wrist hinge and release through impact to prevent adding loft on your downswing.
  • Angle of attack – Maintain spine angle and posture through impact without swaying back. This yields a negative AoA.
  • Club selection – Choose a higher lofted iron to account for the de-lofting from your downward strike.

Implementing these swing modifications requires some practice to groove. But once dialed in, you’ll be compressing those irons with pure divots after the ball.

When to Use Each Approach

Now that we’ve covered how to execute both high iron shots and irons hit down on, when should you use each in your game? Here are some general guidelines:

  • High irons – Great for par 3’s over water or bunkers. Also effective on tight pin positions where the ball needs to land soft.
  • Hitting down – Ideal for long par 4 and par 5 approaches where you want max distance. Also helps hold firmer greens.
  • Trouble shots – High balls can avoid forestation. Low balls keep you under tree limbs.
  • Windy conditions – High balls decrease distance deviation in gusty winds. Low balls bore through headwinds.
  • Firm vs soft greens – High shots land softly on hard greens. Low shots allow roll out on softer greens.

Knowing when to apply each trajectory can give you more shot options and improve scoring.

In Summary

Learning both high iron shot techniques and hitting down on irons expands your shotmaking arsenal. While they produce very different ball flights, both can be useful depending on the situation. Just remember these key contrasts:

  • High shots launch steeply on an upward strike. Hitting down compresses with a negative AoA.
  • Weight favors the front side for high balls, trail side for low balls.
  • Wrist hinge adds loft for altitude, limited hinge prevents delofting when hitting down.
  • Club selection and ball position also impact trajectory.

Practice both, build mastery, and know when to apply high balls or boring low balls. Having this shot versatility will lead to more birdies and pars. Now go refine your iron play!


How do you hit high golf iron shots?

To hit high iron shots that launch on a steep ascent, use these techniques:
Play the ball forward in your stance to strike it on the upswing
Maintain your weight on the front foot through impact
Allow extra wrist hinge and release to add loft at impact
Swing upward by leaning back slightly at address
Use a lower lofted iron to compensate for the added loft
Focus on positive angle of attack and an upward blow

How can you hit a 5-iron 200 yards?

Hitting a 5 iron 200 yards requires a combination of good technique and making solid contact. Here are some tips:
Optimize your launch conditions by teeing the ball up slightly to get higher launch
Focus on hitting down and through the ball for maximum compression
Make sure you shift your weight fully to the left side during downswing
Utilize your body for power and get your arms extended at impact
Swing at about 105-110 mph clubhead speed for a 5 iron
Hit the sweet spot of the clubface flush for best distance
Consider using a stronger lofted/cavity back 5 iron to optimize carry distance
Play downwind, downhill, or on firm ground to get added rollout

What are the top 3 swing tips to hit high iron shots?

The top 3 tips for high iron shots are:
Play the ball forward in your stance. Maintain weight on your front foot through impact. Allow increased wrist hinge and release.

What are the most important steps to hit down on an iron shot?

The most crucial tips for hitting down on irons are:
Position the ball back in your stance. Shift weight to your trail side in the downswing. Limit wrist hinge through impact.


Having a mix of high-flying iron shots and those low, penetrating trajectory irons can give you more choices and accuracy for your iron game. Even though the methods are different, they serve distinct purposes. High shots work well when you need to clear an obstacle or make a soft landing. On the other hand, low, boring shots are designed for maximizing distance and roll.

Use these tips to enhance your ability to make various types of shots. With both types of shots in your bag, you’ll find greater consistency in your game and achieve lower scores. Becoming a master of iron play involves learning different types of shot trajectories. So, embrace these two complementary techniques as you strive for excellence in your golfing journey.

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