Should I take my long irons out of the bag?

Problem: I can’t hit any iron above a 9-iron reliably, and the contact for those long irons as I practice/attempt to fix them is painful and potentially damaging. I am driving it well.

Question: Fewer clubs would make it easier to focus on practice, and not hitting long irons would save me some pain. Can I get by with a driver, a three wood, and 9-iron or less and play bogey-golf or better?

My attempt to answer this question will trace an imaginary 9-hole round through TPC Potomac from the Silver tees.

1: 400 yards. 210 drive leaves 190 in. Full 9-iron leaves 70 yards. Full 60deg (slightly delofted) should leave a par putt.

2: 495 yards: 210 drive to left rough leaves 295. 170-yard 3-wood leaves 125. 9-iron leaves us on front of green or just short. Either a chip up and a par putt or a birdie putt.

3: 185 yards: Either tee up a three wood high and try a high fade from the left or lay up with a pitching wedge to short of the hazard and get on with a slightly opened 60deg. Either should leave a putt for par.

4: 362 yards. 210 yard drive leaves 152 yard approach. I can try to hit a stinger with the nine and get on the front edge. If I’m short, I can get up and down for par, as long as I stay left of the right greenside bunker. I could also potentially punch a 3w.

5: 312: 210-yard drive towards the center fairway bunker should leave a comfortable 9-iron or pitching wedge to the green. Either way, I should have either a birdie putt or a chance at an up and down.

6: 422 par-4. The meat of the golf course. 210 drive to the left rough leaves 212 yards in. I could try to knock a 3-wood close to the green, but my safest option is to knock a pitching wedge 107 yards (since there’s a tight corner and trees, safer than 91), leaving 105 in. Hopefully another pitching wedge will give me a par putt, though I’ll happily take 5 on this beast of a hole.

7: 395. A 210 drive leaves me 185 in. It’s pretty open, so I’d go for a 3-wood. At worst, this should leave me with a 15-20yd pitch. At best, I’m on the green putting for birdie.

8: 415. A 210-yard drive leaves 205 in. Once again, it’s fairly open, so I’ll hit 3-wood towards the left-center of the fairway, and the hill will probably push it towards the center, leaving me perhaps a 30-40yard pitch, and if I hit that well, a par putt.

9: 155: No laying up here, because of the big gully in front. This one’s a toughie for this plan. What happens if I grip down on a teed-up 3-wood?


This plan is doable, with the exception of the 9th hole, where the distance is challenging. I might be able to bail out long and left with a high 3-wood choked up, but it wouldn’t be easy. This seems like a decent path forward to practice, and presumably, once I groove my woods and short irons/wedges, I’ll eventually be able to hit long irons.

Shots to practice:

  • Driver:
    • Straight and 210+.
    • High and low.
    • 230+ extra-gear.
  • 3-wood.
    • High cut off the tee (for par-3) (175-85).
    • High 140-150yd choke-up tee shot.
    • Straight shot off the deck (175+)
  • 9-iron:
    • 115-yard full draw
    • 120-yard extra gear
    • 150-yard runner.
  • Pitching wedge
    • 105-yard draw
    • 110-yard extra gear
    • 10-yard low pitch
    • 20-yard low pitch
    • 40-yard-low-pitch
    • 50-yard low pitch
  • Gap Wedge (48deg)
    • 95-yard draw
    • 100-yard extra gear
  • 56deg wedge
    • 85-yard draw
    • Sand shots
  • 60deg wedge
    • 65-yard high draw
    • 75-yard high extra gear
    • 10-yard high
    • 20-yard high
    • 30-yard high
    • 40-yard high
    • 50-yard high

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