There are some very obvious differences between a driver and an iron. However, many people don’t realise that the fundamentals of how you hit a ball with your driver are vastly different to how you should be hitting your irons.
First and foremost, you will be hitting upwards on the ball with a driver, while you’re hitting down with an iron.
Golf Setup Irons Vs Driver
The key to the setup with your irons is to really promote the ability to hit downwards on the ball. If you hit upwards on the ball with an iron, then there’s going to be no height, and you will just ‘top’ the ball (which I’m sure you know, doesn’t produce good results).
So, in terms of setting up with my irons, I will have the ball at centre, to maybe just slightly in front of centre for my longer irons. And I will lean my body ever so slightly towards the target. This, for me, promotes the body movement forward, which will promote downward attack on the ball. In order to do this, I will lean the handle of the golf club a little forward, and the sternum of my chest to be slightly left of the centre line of my feet.
When you actually initiate the swing, you really need to make sure that you focus on your chest centre line not moving during the back swing. One of the key mistakes I see is too much of a ‘sway’ during the back swing, which will lead to you hitting upwards on the ball, rather than down. So, make sure you stay stable and still over the ball.
As we come down after the back swing, we’re going to look to encourage the body to move toward the target as we strike the shot. If done correctly, this should lead to you hitting downward on the golf ball, and getting a nice clean connection with plenty of height.
- Wide base for your feet
- Ball at centre, to just slightly further forward
- Handle of club leaning forward towards the target
- Sternum slightly towards target, over the ball
- Keeping sternum position still during the backswing
- Avoiding swaying
- Movement of the body towards the target as we come down after the backswing
So, how does the driver differ to the irons? Well, as I’ve said, the key difference here is that we want to hit up on the ball, rather than down. We therefore need to change our stance, setup and swing in order to promote that upward swing on the ball.
First of all, you will want the ball position to be just inside the heel of your leading foot. To help you here, I would recommend getting a stick and putting it in front of the ball, perpendicular to the target. You will then position your lead foot to the side of this stick.
Due to this new position setup, it really stops us from moving the body forward like we try to do with the irons. We don’t actually want to do this, because as you move forward, it promotes the body to hit more downward on the ball.
With the driver, we actually want to encourage the body to be a little tilted backwards away from the target, and what many would call a “K Bomb” stance:
This stance forces the club to be pointed more to the sky, and therefore causes an upward directional impact when connecting with the golf ball.
Despite the backward tilt in the K stance, we still need to make sure our body isn’t swaying any further backwards in the backswing. This will lead to poor contact on the ball, and can actually lead to you topping the golf ball off the tee. You want to maintain that tilted “K” position throughout the back swing, and upon impact. Similar to the diagram above.
When you manage to hit upwards on the golf ball with your driver, you will find that you’re maximising launch, and maximising your spin-rate. Once you really perfect this technique, everything will start to come together with your driver.
A common cause of a slice is due to an out to in swing path. However, you will find that if you execute the K position correctly, it will be very difficult to hit upwards on the ball, and have an out to in swing path.
- Ball position inside your lead heel
- Slight tilt on your upper body (K Bomb)
- Rotate into the backswing while maintaining the tilt
- Avoid any backward sway
- Maintain tilt all the way until contact
- Connect in an upward motion on the ball
There we have it, a few key differences between an Iron Swing and a Driver Swing. The main differences as we can see are simply in the setup and body position, rather than the swing or swing-path itself. With the Irons we want to get that body moving towards the target, and with the driver we want to maintain that body tilt until connection with the ball – these are the two key differences in really connecting well with the ball consistently.
Hopefully this has helped you. I would recommend going to the driving range and testing this out for yourself, and really try to understand what your body is doing in your setup, backswing, and follow-through. Once you master controlling your body throughout the swing, you will experience significant improvements to your golf game.