Whether you’re a professional golfer or a humble golf enthusiast, you might already know that there’s a club for every shot. For example, you would use a driver to hit the ball over long distances, while a wedge is more appropriate for short strokes around the green.
But what about those in-between shots? That’s where your irons comes in.
An 8 iron is a versatile club that can be used for a variety of different shots. It can be used to hit the ball high or low, depending on the situation. However, it’s also tricky enough that you can’t just swing away without thinking about your form and technique.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to hit an 8 iron so that you can make the most of this essential club, especially if you’re a high handicap golfer.
Common Mistakes When Using an 8 Iron
There are two common mistakes that golfers make when using an 8 iron:
- Not Hitting Down on the Ball Enough: One of the keys to hitting any iron shot is hitting down on the ball. This helps compress the ball and get the spin that you need for a good shot. With an 8 iron, you need to make sure that you hit down on the ball enough, but not too much.
- Hitting Too Much From the Inside or Outside: When most golfers miss-hit their 8 iron shots, it’s because they’re coming too much from the inside or over the top. This causes them to hit the ball thin or fat and causes mis-hits like slices and pulls. Instead, focus on hitting the ball from the center or slightly outside the center of the clubface.
As such, one of these things happen:
- Chunking the Shot: A chunked shot occurs when the clubhead strikes the ground before making contact with the ball, leading to a significant loss of distance and accuracy. This is a common miss-hit with an 8 iron.
- Pulling the Shot: A pulled shot is an unintentional leftward deviation for right-handed golfers (or rightward for left-handed golfers) caused by an inside-out swing path and closed clubface at impact.
- Slicing the Shot: A sliced shot results from an outside-in swing path with an open clubface, sending the ball on a sharp curve from left to right for right-handed players (or right to left for left-handed players), often landing off-target. This is a common miss-hit for high handicap golfers.
How To Hit an 8 Iron
If you’re wondering how to hit an 8 iron, you can follow these steps:
Relax Your Body and Arms
When using an 8 iron, it’s important to keep your body and arms relaxed. This will help you generate more power and speed as you swing through the ball. You should also focus on keeping a smooth, consistent tempo as you swing.
You say 1 during your backswing, 2 as you reach the top and being to change direction, and 3 and the way down and through.
A good way to practice this is by swinging your 8 iron slowly at first and then gradually increasing your speed as you get more comfortable. But as an amateur, there’s not much reason to go out and swing the club hard and fast. Control and tempo are your friends, not trying to hit like Bryson Dechambeau.
Master the Divot
The first thing you need to do is master the divot. A proper divot should be about 2-3 inches deep and 6 inches long. This will ensure that you’re making solid contact with the ball and not scooping it off the turf.
The divot should start where the ball was sitting. If you’re hitting it thin, the divot will start in front of the ball. If you’re hitting it fat, the divot will start behind the ball.
As such, you need to make sure that you adjust your swing accordingly. If you’re hitting it thin, you need to make a shallower swing. If you’re hitting it fat, you need to make a steeper swing.
Taking a divot helps you create solid contact with the ball, which is key to more consistent distances. Remember, the difference between low handicap and high handicap golfers is usually in the iron strikes and control.
Determine Your Ball’s Shot Shape
The shot shape or curve of the ball is determined by the clubface angle at impact, the path of the swing, and the point of contact on the clubface. A ball hit with an open clubface will have a high shot with a fade or slice. A ball hit with a closed clubface will have a low shot with a draw or hook.
Knowing this, you can control your ball’s shot shape by changing your clubface angle, path, or point of contact. For an 8 iron, you want to produce a shot with a high trajectory and a small amount of fade or draw. This is because an 8 iron is designed to travel a shorter distance than other clubs, so you need to make sure the ball gets plenty of air time.
To hit a high shot with a small fade or draw, you need to have an open clubface at impact and swing on an inside-out path. This will ensure that the ball hits the sweet spot on the clubface and doesn’t spin off course.
Aim Club to the Target Line
Hitting an 8 iron is all about accuracy. You need to be able to control your shots and hit the ball where you want it to go. When you’re aiming your 8 iron, be sure to aim for something on the target line. This will help you control your shots and ensure that you hit the ball where you want it to go.
Without proper aim, your 8 iron shots will likely veer off to the left or right. If you are struggling with your aim, try using an alignment aid. This will help you ensure that your clubface is square to the target line.
The object could be anything on the ground, such as a leaf or a small rock, that’s about one to three feet in front of the ball. Once you have your object selected, take your stance and aim the clubface at it.
Next, choose a target beyond the green. It could be a tree branch or anything that’s high up on the target line. Now, focus on keeping your head down and swinging through the shot. If you can do this, you will be hitting your 8 iron with much more accuracy.
Know Your Average Distance
Distance can be a tricky figure among golfers. Some golfers hit their 8 iron 190 yards while others only carry it 160. It is important to know your average distance with each club in order to make the best decision on the course. Once you have that number, you can better judge how far away from the hole you need to be in order to give yourself a good chance at making par or birdie.
Don’t be discouraged when you don’t hit your 8 iron as far as you’d like. Remember, it’s all about hitting the ball in the fairway and giving yourself a chance at a good score.
You can then work on your distance by practicing with a purpose. Try hitting some balls on the range with a target in mind, such as a flag or water hazard. This will help you focus on making solid contact and swinging through the ball correctly.
Resist the Urge to Add Loft
It can be tempting to help the ball into the air by adding loft. After all, your 8 iron isn’t going as far as you’d like it to. But, when you add loft, you also add spin. More spin means more hooks and slices. The key is to hit down on the ball, using the weight of the club to compress the ball and send it soaring.
Moreover, did you know that you can deloft the iron at impact? This means that even if you hit down on the ball, the club will still add loft and send the ball flying because the backspin creates the lift you need.
To do so, avoid falling back with your weight onto the back of your foot. Make sure to keep at least 60% of your weight on the front foot throughout the entire swing. This will help you hit down on the ball and deloft the club at impact.
Practice Chip Shots With Your 8 Iron
Get comfortable with your 8 iron. Go to the driving range and spend some time hitting chip shots with your 8 iron. This will help you develop a feel for how far the ball will travel with this club.
It’s all about experiencing the 8 iron’s “sweet spot” firsthand. The sweet spot is the area on the clubface where the ball will make contact, resulting in maximum distance and accuracy. Find the sweet spot on your 8 iron and you’ll be able to hit some amazing shots!
To get the most out of your 8 iron, you need to understand how to hit it properly in different situations. These tips should help you get the most out of this versatile yet tricky club. As with everything else in golf, you have to experiment a bit to find what works best for you.