How to Hit Irons Straight For Beginners (+3 Drills To Get Better Faster)

Irons make up the bulk of your set and, therefore, require a lot of attention if you plan to progress beyond beginner status. Hitting a golf ball off the grass with any iron is what golf is all about; learn to love it. Few feelings in life are better than a well-struck iron shot. 

Learning how to hit irons straight for beginners can be challenging at first, but with the right direction, you can reduce your frustration and start hitting more greens in regulation

Here I cover what you need to do to improve your short, mid, and long irons specifically.

Separating them by category helps you understand their differences and gets you comfortable with any shot you face out there on the course. 

Check these boxes, and you’ll see your scores and handicap start to lower so you can shed the title of beginner faster than you thought. 

  • 3 Keys On How To Hit Irons Straight
  • Dissecting The Difference Between Short, Mid, And Long Irons
  • 5 Benefits Of Hitting Your Irons Straighter
  • 3 Drills To Use On The Practice Range

Let’s straighten this out!

how to hit irons straighter

Here’s How To Hit Irons Straight If You’re A Beginner: 3 Keys To Success

#1: Control Club Face

The angle of your clubface at impact will determine the type of spin you put on the ball. A closed clubface causes draw, or hook spin, and an open clubface causes fade or slice spin. Many experts will tell you to monitor this right from the takeaway, but I recommend you strictly focus on what happens just before and after impact to get the best results for each iron.  

#2: Control Club Path

The path of your swing will control the ball’s direction. An out-to-in club path will send the ball on a straight line away from you, towards 2 o’clock if dead straight is 12 o’clock. An out-to-in swing will cause the ball to travel toward 10 o’clock. 

#3: Control Swing Tempo

Having control over your swing tempo will allow you to control your club face and club path more consistently. Distance and accuracy come from timing; you can’t have trustworthy timing if you swing out of your shoes every time. 

Benefits of Hitting Your Irons Straight

  • Hit More Greens In Regulation
  • Have Shorter Birdie Putts
  • Attack Pins On Par-3s
  • Hold More Par 5s In Two
  • Approach Greens From Any Angle

What Causes Slices And Hooks With Irons

All of us have seen these two shots before, and most likely, not on purpose. We tend to favor one or the other whether we like it or not. To control your slice or hook, you must find a balance between your club face and club path. 

If you slice, your club path is out-to-in with an open club face. 

If you hook, your club path is in-to-out with a closed club face. 

If you hit a straight shot, you found perfect harmony between a neutral club path and a square club face. 

how to hit irons straight with example of hook and slice

How To Hit Your Long Irons Straighter

Nothing feels better than sending a piercing 4-iron shot right at the flagstick from far out. Achieving this laser-like trajectory is tough but not impossible. 

Since these clubs are longer, the club head takes longer to travel from the top of your swing down to the point of impact. In order to compensate for the extra length and added time, focus on controlling the big muscles of your swing, such as your hips and shoulders. 

By being in touch with these, you will be able to control tempo much better and allow your smaller muscles to make adjustments automatically

Start this process by taking the club away from the ball low and slow. This promotes relaxation and will set you up for a long and smooth swing.

It will also make it easier for you to control the club face and club path through the crucial impact zone. 


  • Utilize Shoulders And Hips To Drive The Swing
  • Start Your Swing With A Low And Slow Takeaway
  • Focus On Tempo 
straight golf shot using an iron

How To Hit Your Mid Irons Straighter

I think you’ll agree that mid-irons are the bread and butter of your arsenal when it comes to hitting greens in regulation.

You will be faced with more 7-irons into greens than 4-irons or 9-irons, so it pays to focus on this aspect of your set. 

While the lofts on mid irons are more forgiving than long irons, they still feel a bit long for some golfers, which encourages a faster swing. Combat this by choking up on your 6, 7, and 8-iron when faced with a smaller target. 

Shortening the club by ¼” will not affect distance as much as it will improve your consistency in striking the ball purely. 

Once you’re comfortable with your contact, you can focus on getting the right club face. As you probably already know, slicing a 7-iron is, unfortunately, easy to do.

Reducing your margin of error left and right allows you to hit more greens and increase your odds of hitting it close.

Your clubface is directly related to where the back of your top hand is pointing. Use this to identify your misses and help keep your club face more square through impact. 


  • Choke Up No More Than ¼”
  • Monitor Club Face With The Back Of Your Top Hand
  • Focus On Consistent Contact 
man hitting perfect straight golf shot with iron

How To Hit Your Short Irons Straighter

When you have a short iron into a green, that’s what we call a scoring opportunity, and it pays to be efficient when this happens. As a beginner, you may not get a lot of these, so let’s take advantage when the time comes. 

Tempo is easier to achieve with these irons naturally, given their short length, so ball contact should be consistent. To ensure this, pay close attention to your ball position.

With short irons, the ball should be right in the middle of your stance, no more than a half-ball forward. 

This allows you to hit with a descending blow. Don’t be afraid to take divots; as long as you hit ball first, you can take some nice pancakes and still execute the shot. 

Accuracy is key, so once you’re comfortable with your tempo and ball position, you need only worry about your club path. Since there is more loft on short irons, the angle of the club face becomes less important.

Simply focus on swinging through to the target for the best results. 


  • Ensure Middle Ball Position For Solid Contact
  • Don’t Be Afraid To Take Divots
  • Focus On Club Path Down Your Intended Target Line
golfer making a divot during good iron straight shot

3 Drills For Beginners To Hit Straighter Irons

These drills will show you how to hit irons straight for beginners and can be used with any iron. Use these strictly for practice and not as your pre-round warm-up routine, as they are quite technical. 

#1: 9-3 Drill

Purpose: Help identify club path in relation to face angle. 

  • Choose a target that is half the distance away from what a full swing would be, depending on what club you choose to practice with. For example, if you’re practicing with a 7-iron and usually hit 140 yards, choose a target that is 70 yards away. 
  • Line up with your feet together.
  • Limit lower body use and only focus on shoulder turn.
  • Your backswing should only go back as far as parallel to the ground; 9 o’clock if someone is looking at your head on. 
  • Your follow-through should only go as far as parallel to the ground as well; 3 o’clock is for the person facing you.

#2: Towel Drill

Purpose: Incorporate the shoulders and hips to control tempo.

  • Best used for long irons but can be used for any iron.
  • Only use ¾ swings, so choose a target at the appropriate distance.
  • Place a towel across your chest so it’s being supported under your arms. 
  • Swinging with this in place and not letting it drop with encourage you to maintain a one-piece swing with your shoulders and hips. 
golfer hitting a straight shot with an iron

#3: Gate Drill

Purpose: Help improve ball striking and ensure a square club face in relation to your club path.

  • Start by choosing your target at full yardage. Eg., if you’re using a 7-iron and normally hit it 140 yards, choose a target that is 140 yards out. 
  • Once lined up, place two tees in the ground; one an inch away from the toe of your club and one on the heel side, also an inch away. 
  • These tees act as a “gate” for your clubhead to pass through upon impact. 
  • Hitting the tees is bad. If you hit the toe side, then chances are your swing is out-to-in with a closed clubface. Visa versa if you hit the heel tee. 

Summary—How To Hit Irons Straight For Beginners

I know you don’t want to hear this, but practice is the best way to learn how to hit irons straight for beginners. A lot can go wrong in a full swing, so to simplify we focus on what happens just before and just after impact. 

man pleased after hitting the perfect straight shot with his iron

Improving this aspect of your game will see you graduate from beginner to novice and beyond very quickly. Incorporated with a solid putting stroke and the ability to hit fairways and your playing partners will be referring to you as an expert sooner than you think. 

Next Up: How To Hit Down On The Golf Ball: 4 Great Drills To Hit It Perfectly Every Time

Photo of author
After graduating from the Professional Golf Management program in Palm Springs, CA, I moved back to Toronto, Canada, turned pro and became a Class 'A' member of the PGA of Canada. I then began working at some of the city's most prominent country clubs. While this was exciting, it wasn't as fulfilling as teaching, and I made the change from a pro shop professional to a teaching professional. Within two years, I was the Lead Teaching Professional at one of Toronto's busiest golf instruction facilities. Since then, I've stepped back from the stress of running a successful golf academy to focus on helping golfers in a different way. Knowledge is key so improving a players golf IQ is crucial when choosing things like the right equipment or how to cure a slice. As a writer I can help a wide range of people while still having a little time to golf myself!

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