Were you one of those golfers who quickly took the 4 iron out of the bag and replaced it with a hybrid? I was.
Interestingly, many golfers are considering putting the 4 iron back in the bag simply because technology has changed.
Where the 4 iron was once a club that was hard to launch, had a small sweet spot, and consistency that was incredibly poor, it has since improved.
However, in order for the 4 iron to earn a spot in your bag, you’ll need to know how far you hit it and how far you should be hitting it. Here is all the information you need on how far most people hit a 4 iron, including the professionals.
How Long Should You Hit a 4 Iron?
The distance you hit your 4 iron will vary depending on your ability to hit the center of the clubface, your clubhead speed, and the club you’re playing. Some 4 irons are designed for distance, while others are designed for higher ball flight and forgiveness.
These numbers are reflective of the skill level and have the most to do with a golfer’s ability to strike the ball solidly. If your swing speed is high or low, expect to see some differences in total distance.
Beginner golfers typically have slightly slower swing speeds, as they often try to learn and perfect the different positions of the swing. Most beginner golfers will hit a 4 iron around 155 yards.
Of course, there will be times that a beginner will get distances closer to the 160 or even 165 yard mark. But this is often rare.
Many beginners like the 4 iron because it has a lower, more penetrating ball flight, and it increases the total roll that you get. This seems like a positive when you first learn the game, but eventually the golf ball needs to go up in the air if you want to improve.
High handicap golfers tend to struggle with many of the same inconsistency issues that beginners struggle with. Expect to see the 4 iron anywhere in the 165 range for higher handicappers.
If you start to strike the center of the clubface, and you are playing with a more game improvement golf club set, the distances could be closer to the 170 yard range.
Again, it’s important to remember that not all higher handicappers have slower swing speeds. If you go after the ball and have high swing speeds, these numbers will be a little higher.
Mid-handicap golfers often consider their modern 4 iron as the 170 yard club. As a general reference, if you use your 7 iron for a 140 to 145-yard shot, your 4 iron should be about 170 yards.
If you notice that your 4 iron is traveling the same distance as your 5 iron, it may make sense to consider using a 4 hybrid instead. When we see distances max out, it often has to do with the golfer’s swing speed and ability to make consistent contact with the ball.
Low handicap golfers hit a 4 iron around 180 yards. Some will hit it closer to 190 or even 200, but this is typically when they have higher clubhead speeds. Low-handicap players can benefit from hitting the center of the clubface often.
When you strike the center of the face, expect a higher launch, better overall spin rates, and more control of the shots as well.
Low handicap players are typically not just looking for distance from their iron shots but also some accuracy and workability.
How Far PGA Players Hit a 4 Iron
A PGA Player can have an average distance on their 4 iron anywhere from 200 to 250 yards. Even though nearly all PGA Tour players are considered faster swinging golfers, they don’t all have the same distance capabilities.
Most PGA Tour players are looking for a launch angle and spin rate that matches what they’re trying to do on the golf course. Most players are using the 4 iron for accuracy on a longer par 3 or an approach on a par 4.
These golfers want to ensure they can get the ball to stop close to the pin.
Many PGA Tour players tend to avoid hybrids, as they don’t have the same workability. You’re more likely to find a 4 utility club in the bag of a PGA player than a 4 hybrid.
Tips for Hitting Your 4 Iron Further
Now that you have a better idea as to how far a 4 iron is supposed to go, let’s take a more in-depth look into how you can hit your 4 iron further.
Distance on a 4 iron can be a little misleading. You are going to want to focus on how long you can keep the ball in the air and how long it carries, not just how long the ball rolls.
Adjust Your Stance
Many golfers take a wider stance with their 4 iron to try and create a more stable base of support. This can be a good idea, but it can also slow your swing. If you feel as though you are having a hard time getting to your left side in the golf swing, narrow the stance a bit.
You will know that it’s too narrow if you lose your balance or feel as though you are getting stuck when you get closer to the ball. Overall, I’ve found that a slightly narrow stance has helped me gain a lot of distance.
Move The Ball Up In Your Setup
When the golf ball is a little further up in your stance, it can be easier to make clean contact with the 4 iron. Golfers will find that this ball position encourages better rotation and makes it so golfers have to accelerate through the ball.
The 4 iron is a longer club and it takes a little more effort to hit it cleanly at impact, so don’t be afraid to go after it a bit.
Complete The Backswing
The 4 iron can cause golfers some anxiety (I know it always did for me). The longer length of the iron combined with the lower loft makes it a tough choice for those that are struggling to make solid contact.
One of the first mistakes golfers make when struggling with a club is to shorten their backswing. When the backswing gets quick, we don’t have time to transition weight or positions in our swing, and the result is a shot that does not fly very far.
If you want to get more distance out of your 4 iron, make sure you bring the club to parallel with the ground on the backswing.
When the club gets to this parallel position, you can get more distance, a higher flight, and the performance that justifies keeping this club in the bag.
Get Fitted For The Right 4 Iron
Did you know that some golfers will have steel shafts in all of their golf irons, but they put graphite in their 4 iron?
This is not uncommon.
The 4 iron can be heavier than the other clubs in the bag simply because it is longer. In addition, the extra length can make it harder to generate the clubhead speed you want. If you can put a graphite shaft in the 4 iron, the overall results should improve.
Work On Increasing Overall Clubhead Speed
Finally, if you work on increasing your overall clubhead speed, you will hit your 4 iron further. To increase your clubhead speed, make sure that you are working on upper body strength as well as stability in your lower body.
Many golfers find that working out in a gym can help, and so can cross-training by playing other sports.
There are also weighted golf clubs and other devices that will help you gain some extra distance. If your club instantly feels lighter because you have increased your strength, you should be able to swing it faster.
What Degree Hybrid Replaces a 4 Iron?
The 22-degree hybrid is intended to replace the 4 iron. However, this does not mean that all 4 irons will have 22 degrees of loft.
If your 4 iron and your 4 hybrid are both 22 degrees, you may still hit the 4 hybrids further. The 4 hybrid has a higher launch, graphite shaft, and plenty of ball speed. In addition, with the way the clubhead of the 4 hybrid is designed, it is much more forgiving out of the rough.
If distance is your main concern, look into a hybrid, as it will often be easier to get the numbers you need. In addition, ball flight can be higher, making it easier to stop a golf ball on the green.
I’ll be honest – I’ve enjoyed switching to a 4 hybrid and can’t really see myself making the change back anytime soon.