Your irons are your offensive weapons. Once your ball is on the fairway, the shot into the green is where you set up your score. Really knowing how far you hit each iron is critical. Use this easy method to find out.
Go to an executive course nearby with a laser rangefinder. The idea is that you pick a club to analyze and drop a ball in the fairway at a measured distance and hit the club you think will go that far. As the holes, go by, you can refine the distance at where you drop the ball until you have it just just or nearly so.
Let’s start with you 9-iron. Maybe you think you hit it 130 yards. Drop a ball 125 yards at from the pin. It’s better to start off conservatively. Hit your shot, and if you would call it a representative shot, go to the spot on the green where the pitch mark is. Step off the vertical distance (see illustration) from that mark to the pin. Add that distance to, or subtract it from 125 yards, accordingly, and do the same on the next eight holes, if possible.
After nine holes, you will have a good number of data points to work with. Estimate the distance you hit your 9-iron by taking out the longest four and the shortest four. The one in the middle is the distance to use.
Now play nine more holes, from 145 yards, analyzing your 7-iron.
You can also do this with your 5-iron and your 3-iron or hybrid equivalent.
Now look at the yardages you have for these four clubs. There should be a consistent progression from club to club. It won’t always be ten yards. I hit my irons at nine-yard intervals. When in doubt, adjust a club distance downward.
Determining distances between hybrids is more difficult. Because we don’t hit greens with them too often, it’s hard to tell exactly where the ball landed.
I have twelve-yard intervals between hybrids, as well as between my longest iron and shortest hybrid. I learned that by keeping watch on the course and adjusting as I gathered results.
Play several rounds on a regulation course now, sticking to the yardages you just figured out, and see how it goes. Adjust if you are always short, but if you are always long (but not too long), don’t change a thing.
I would go through this exercise every year. You change, your swing changes, and especially if you bought a new set of irons, do this right away.