Teeing Off With Irons – Different Than Woods

Golf Ball On A TeeHitting the ball off of a tee with a driver can be one of the most fun parts of the game of golf. Being able to crush the ball with nothing but open space in front of you (hopefully not shanked into the woods). But what if the whole is only 150 yards away?

Hitting irons off of a tee can be very fun as well because it will be the best lie you will ever hit off of (lie being the location of the golf ball at rest either on the fairway, rough, sand, etc.). When you tee off with an iron, you get to place it on a tee at whatever height you would like. There are no divots to worry about, no sand to hit out of, no long grass to hit through (you get the point).

So below I will break down how high your tee should be, give tips on your stance and backswing, and explain how you should be making contact with the ball.

Getting “Tee’d Off”

Tee height is extremely important when it comes to teeing off with irons. With a driver you can tee the ball up pretty high to get the ball up in the air a little more to help improve your distance. But with irons, you won’t be looking for farther distance. Instead you will be looking to get the ball high in the air at a specific distance and have it stay where it lands.Hand With Golf Glove On Pushing Tee and Golf Ball Into The Ground

To do this you must tee the ball up about 1/4″ (inches) from the ground, which is much lower than if you were teeing the ball up for a driver. To achieve this 1/4″, push the tee into the ground until it squeezes your fingers between the tee and the ground. Practice this at the range to find your perfect height every time.

Irons are specifically designed to give the ball loft, so setting the ball at this height will allow you to hit down on the ball easier without feeling like you have to sweep under the ball. If you try to help the club along and you do sweep under the ball, it will just pop straight up in the air with no distance.

Lord Of The Stance

A good stance should start with balance. Your feet should be shoulder-length apart, knees slightly bent and you should feel like if someone were to push you, you would not fall over. The ball should form an imaginary straight line more toward the middle of your feet, rather than toward the front foot that you would set up when using a driver.

Throughout the whole process, right up until contact with the ball, your head should be stationary with your eyes on the ball. You can’t hit what you can’t see.

Back-Swingers Baby, Yeah

Woman Teeing Off With An IronDuring your backswing, with your head perfectly stationary and your eyes on the ball, keep it short and compact. This will make it easier not to rock back with your backswing, but to keep centered and balanced over the ball.

You also want to make sure, just like every other swing, that your front arm (left arm for righties and right arm for lefties) stays straight through the backswing. If you bend your lead arm during your backswing it will through the whole swing off and you will be lucky to hit the ball at all.

The picture to the left shows a perfect backswing.  Look how centered and balanced she still is with her head down and left arm straight.

We Have Contact

As mentioned earlier, irons are specifically designed to give the ball loft. Because of this, the correct way to swing your iron is to swing down at the ball, not sweep under it. You can tell if you are swinging down at the ball because of your divot (the piece of turf that is missing because you removed it with your club during the swing).An Iron Taking A Divot Out Of The Grass, Also Hitting The Ball

If your divot is behind the ball then you are NOT swinging down at the ball and are doing it wrong. You should strike the ball first, then leave a divot after the ball. This will allow the design of the club to create the loft for you and give you the desired distance as well. Don’t be shocked by the size of the divot either, it should end up being about the size of a dollar bill.

Conclusion – Instant Replay

Hitting irons off of a tee shouldn’t be intimidating, at least no more intimidating that hitting irons any other time. The keys are to tee the ball up at the right height, get in the proper stance, maintain proper form through the backswing, and making the correct contact. If you can hit consistently with your iron off the tee on par 3s and on narrow fairways then you will shave points off of your score and be much happier with your golf game!

10 thoughts on “Teeing Off With Irons – Different Than Woods”

  1. Oh! Rather interesting one here. Though I never truly understood the condiments dealing with ensuring proper ball hitting with the iron. I actually find this worthy to see and learn. You know, being able to develop better over time and getting the tees hit by the iron. I think practice would be key to ensuring one gets this well enough. Thanks

    • It does take a lot of practice, but knowing how the club is supposed to strike the ball will ensure you are practicing the correct way.

  2. Hello admin, it’s been really fun learning to play the game and hitting the ball with the iron haven’t been really easy for me to do because I am just starting to learn the game and how to play it well with ease. However seeing these articles that can be really helpful to we newbie in the game is of real advantage to us all. Thanks for sharing this very nice article.

  3. Your article was super helpful!  I am an occasional golfer.  On a good day I shoot in the 90’s.  On a bad day I am over 100. I never knew any of those tips you provided in your article.  I bet if I go to the driving range and practice what you taught my game will improve.  

    The things I found especially helpful:  Set the tee about 1/4″ high.  To do this push the tee into the ground until it squeezes you fingers between the tee and the ground.  Have a balanced stance with head steady.  Hit down on the ground in such a way so there is a divot after where the ball sat.  The divot should be about the size of a dollar bill.

    If I can execute those tips well, I could probably reduce my strokes by 2 or 3.  On par 3 holes I sometimes hit the green from the tee shot.  By incorporating your tips, if I can do them reasonably well, I should be able to hit the green more often.  That makes me want to go out and practice, now!

    Thanks for the really helpful tips!


    • I appreciate your kind words and enthusiasm!   I was hoping I could provide some onsite to help people think about a part of the game that they don’t normally focus on.  Glad I could help you out!

  4. Thank you fro your amaing article.

    Though I never truly understood the condiments dealing with ensuring proper ball hitting with the iron because I am just starting to learn the game and how to play it well with ease.

    I actually find this worthy to see and learn. Seeing these articles that can be really helpful.

    Thanks for sharing this very nice article.

    • You’re welcome, and thank you for reading it and supporting me with your very nice comment.  If you’re just getting into golf, make sure you save the link to my website because there is plenty more coming!

  5. This is actually really helpful! I want to get better at golf, but I have never had time to go out to play or even have a set of clubs. But I will save this article and website so that in the future I can reference back to this informative site. I really need to go out and buy some clubs and start practicing so I can pull things off like hitting balls off a tee with an iron. That is if I can get my swing correct.

    • My advice, like I state in my articles, is not to worry too much about getting the best clubs or the best balls.  Instead worry about your swing, and once you begin to get better you can upgrade your equipment. My next article is about the best golf balls for beginners and I chose the best and least expensive balls because as a beginner you will lose A LOT of balls and you don’t want to break the bank buying golf balls.


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