The 7-iron is one of the most versatile clubs in the bag.
It forms the bridge between the mid-irons and the short irons. It can be hit a long way, or you can use it for chipping around the greens.
We bring you the ultimate guide to what a 7-iron is and all its uses, including:
- What is a 7-iron?
- 7-Iron Distance Range: How Far Does A 7-Iron Go?
- When to play a 7-iron
- How to make a full 7-iron swing
Now, let’s get into the details!
What is a 7-iron
As mentioned, the 7-iron acts as a bridge between the mid and short irons.
Lofts can vary on 7-irons depending on the type of head you are looking at, but generally, you will see 7-irons featuring the following lofts:
Traditional: 32 – 35 degrees
Strong loft: 27 – 29 degrees
These might appear meaningless numbers, but the trend of modern iron is to have stronger lofts.
By comparison, a 7-iron from a 90s set would be 35 degrees.
Club manufacturers are quick to tell us that their latest irons will go further than before, which is undoubtedly the case when they strengthen the lofts!
Length of a 7-iron
The standard length of a 7-iron is 37 inches.
Because we all come in different shapes and sizes, 7-irons can be shorter or longer to ensure the fit is perfect for the golfer’s height.
A good club fitter can determine the ideal length your 7-iron (and other irons) should be.
7-Iron Distance Range: How Far Does A 7-Iron Go?
If we look purely at stats, the average distances for a 7-iron are:
High handicapper – 100 – 130 yards
Mid handicapper – 135 – 145 yards
Low handicapper – 150 – 170 yards
You can also see significant differences even in the professional game:
PGA Tour average – 170 – 200 yards
LPGA Tour average – 140 – 160 yards
Rory McIlroy – 195 yards
Bryson DeChambaeu – 205 yards
The professionals’ one significant advantage is that they will consistently hit their yardages.
For amateurs, they can hit some long 7-irons that go professional distances, but the consistency is not always there with ball striking.
Weather conditions can also affect how far a 7-iron will fly.
Playing downwind – the ball will go further; playing into the wind, or if it’s wet – the ball will go shorter.
When to play a 7-iron
As we have seen from the average distances covered for a 7-iron, it is mainly used for approach shots and teeing off on particular par 3s where the distances are correct.
A 7-iron can also be a helpful club in your short-game arsenal to play what’s known as a “bump and run” shot.
We’ll cover how to play this shot later, but the ideal scenario for the bump and run with a 7-iron is when you are close to the green with no obstacles between you and the pin.
The last point is the most important for this shot.
This is because, in a bump-and-run shot, the ball will travel on the ground for at least 80% of its journey, so if there are bunkers, thick rough, or large swales in the green to negotiate, you will require more loft.
Set up to play a full 7-iron shot
Fundamentals in any golf swing are critical to how successful your swing will be.
When we are looking to play a 7-iron, the critical points in our set-up should be:
- Stand a comfortable distance from the ball
- Ball position just slightly forward of the middle of your stance
- Keep hands slightly ahead of the ball
- Feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart
These fundamentals do not change regardless of hitting your 7-iron off the fairway or the tee.
Set up for a bump-and-run shot
The set-up to play the bump-and-run shot:
- Feet virtually together
- Lead foot pulled back slightly to promote an open stance
- Ball position off the big toe of your trail foot
- Weight favoring the lead side
- Stand close to the ball to get the shaft feeling as vertical as you can
- Grip down the club so you are almost touching the shaft
Traditionally, this shot has also been taught with the golfer using their putting grip, which you can undoubtedly try as it stops the wrists from getting too active in the image.
With so many putter grips out there now, using your regular grip may be hard for you to do so.
how to make a full 7-iron swing
If we get our fundamentals right, making some good moves in the swing is much easier.
Making a low, slow takeaway where the hands work inside the line of the club face will help set the club in an excellent position midway through the backswing.
From this point, complete an entire shoulder turn with your back facing the target and weight stacked into your trail hip.
No rush to start the downswing; let the body unwind with the club following.
With clubs like a 7-iron, we are looking for a descending blow with the ball being struck first, then a small divot taken from the momentum of the club’s leading edge.
Complete your follow-through with your chest facing the target and weight on your leading side.
Can I play a punch shot/knockdown shot with my 7-iron?
The difference in the set-up for these shots is a slightly narrower stance with the ball placed in the middle of your stance.
You can also favor more weight on the lead side to help promote a more descending blow into impact.
Bump and run 7-Iron Shot
The critical thing for the bump and run shot is not to try and add loft to get the ball airborne.
Let the club’s loft do the work for you.
Once the fundamentals are in place, the feeling for the shot is almost like that of a putt.
Keeping the hands forward of the club face with no rotation in the wrists or forearms, the length of the backswing will be dictated by the length of the shot you face.
Like the putting stroke, the follow-through will be similar in length to the backswing giving a pendulum-like feel to the shot.
Practicing 7-Iron Shots
Professionals and amateurs alike will use 7-irons to practice and improve their technique.
The combination of loft and shaft length makes the 7-iron a friendly club to feel the changes you’re making and see how the ball reacts in flight to those changes.
What type of 7-iron do I need?
An endless supply of irons is available on the market today that cover every golfer and budget.
If you are new to the game, a 7-iron that offers more forgiveness with a deep cavity design and wide sole will help get the ball airborne and be kinder to off-center strikes.
If you are a consistently solid ball striker, playability and feel will be more what you are looking for, which can be delivered either by a blade design or a “player’s cavity back” iron which combines blade looks with a smaller cavity.
More often than not, the 7-iron is sold as part of a set of irons or can be sold individually.
Famous 7-iron shots
Throughout the history of tournaments and major championship golf, some shots stand out as memorable.
But since we are talking about 7-irons, are there any famous 7-iron shots we can celebrate?
The answer is yes.
Glory for Gamez
With Norman already in the clubhouse, Gamez knew he needed to birdie the last to tie and go to a playoff.
After splitting the final fairway, Gamez had 176 yards to the flag.
Choosing a 7-iron, Gamez put his best swing on the shot and holed it!
Not only did he record an eagle on the hole, it meant he beat Norman by one shot.
What a way to win a tournament!
But all this changed as he prepared to face his second shot to the last hole in the final round.
Having endured all the pressure that the final day of a major championship could offer, he came to the 18th with 175 yards to go.
What happened next is arguably one of the most famous shots in the tournament’s history.
Micheel selected a seven iron and knocked his approach to two inches to set up the most straightforward birdie putt imaginable and secure his first and only major championship!
7-Iron Key Takeaways
A 7-iron is a very versatile club offering you the options of;
- The tee shot on a par 3
In addition to this, the 7-iron is also a convenient club to practice with for improving technique, as it offers a great combination of loft and shaft length.
Enjoy what the 7-iron can offer you; adding more shots with this club to your game will help you lower scores more effectively!