Driving Iron Guide: Should Average Golfers Buy One?

I’m sure you’ve seen people on TV crush a 2 or 3 iron down the fairway. I’m also sure you’ve experienced how hard these irons are to hit. The solution could be a driving iron, and in this post, we’re going to be talking about whether or not driving irons are right for the average player.

On average, driving irons hit the ball shorter and lower compared to fairway woods and hybrids, and since that’s the case, beginners and high handicappers should not use them. The average golfer would benefit a lot more by using a club with more forgiveness, such as a hybrid.

Once your game starts getting better and your swing speed increases, you might want to consider trying a driving iron. They’re a lot easier to hit compared to a standard iron, but you need to be able to swing the club fast enough and hit the ball solid enough to get results.

Let’s hear from you. In the comments below, let me know if you use a driving iron and when you’ll pull it out of the bag.

Driving Iron vs Regular Iron

Compared to normal irons, driving irons are bulkier and easier to hit. Since driving irons have more weight behind and under the sweet spot, you’ll get more height and distance on your tee shots.

If you’re just an average hacker like the majority of people reading this, you probably know how hard it is hitting a 2-4 iron. Most of the time you’ll get low shots that curve two fairways over and don’t really get much distance.

The reason is that longer irons require more speed to compress the ball properly. If you don’t swing fast enough or you don’t hit the sweet spot, that ball ain’t going anywhere.

Hence, the driving iron.

Think about what clubs you hit straighter, your driver/fairway wood, or your irons. For most people, the answer is their irons. That’s why some people want to have an iron that they can hit off the tee.

Let’s say you’re walking up to the tee box and it’s a narrow par 4. You know your driving is going into the forest, and your fairway wood is hit or miss.

Chances are that the best move is hitting an iron. The only problem is that you can’t hit anything longer than your 5 iron. What if you had a long iron that was a lot more forgiving?

Driving irons are quite a bit bulkier compared to standard irons. They’re somewhere between a player’s iron and a game improvement iron. They mix height and distance with accuracy and straightness.

They’re also between a standard iron and a hybrid. Driving irons provide the control of an iron with the forgiveness (almost) of a hybrid. That being said, a driving iron might not be right for you.

Is A Driving Iron Better Than A Driver?

Driving irons will normally hit the ball straighter than a driver and that’s why they could be a better choice on a narrow par 4. That being said, driving irons are typically only used by better golfers since they require more club speed and have a smaller sweet spot.

For most golfers, hitting a driver will be the best choice. With a bigger head and a bigger sweet spot, it’ll be much easier to get a respectable distance with a driver.

RELATED: Best Drivers For Average Golfers

The only problem with the driver is that most people slice the ball off the planet. That’s fine on some holes, but for a narrow hole with forest or water beside it, it’s not the best choice.

This is when you should consider clubbing down to a fairway wood, hybrid, or a driving iron.

For the average golfer (people who shoot above 90), the right choice is probably a fairway wood or hybrid. Even though driving irons are more forgiving, they still require speed and precision to hit well. Let’s talk more about that.

Is A Driving Iron Better Than A Hybrid?

For the average golfer, a hybrid will be a better choice than a driving iron. Hybrids have a bigger sweet spot and don’t require as much speed to hit well. Hybrids are also more versatile since they can be hit from the fairway and rough.

Out of all the people I’ve ever golfed with, probably 80% of them carried a hybrid. The majority of them were shooting in the 80s, 90, and 100s. These people should probably carry a hybrid instead of an iron.

There have been only a couple of people who’ve had a driving iron and all of them were low handicaps. Some of them didn’t like hybrids (for whatever reason) and some of them preferred better control.

The reason I’d recommend a hybrid for most is that they’re easier to hit and are more versatile. The head of a hybrid is bigger and so is the sweet spot.

Since that’s the case, it’ll be more forgiving and will require less speed to get height and distance. Most people could use more of those.

Hybrids are also more versatile. They can be used off the tee, from the fairway, and in the rough. You can hit a driving iron from the fairway but it’s just a bit tougher.

RELATED: Best Hybrids For Average Golfers

Is A 2 Iron A Driving Iron?

A standard 2 iron is not considered a driving iron. Driving irons have the same amount of loft as a standard 2-4 iron, but the clubhead is much thicker, which increases forgiveness, distance, and height.

If you’ve ever had an iron set that came with a 2-4 iron, those are not driving irons. Those are standard irons that are just like the other clubs in the set.

Driving irons are bought separately, but they have the same loft as a traditional iron. You can get a 2 driving iron, a 3 driving iron, and a 4 driving iron.

The loft is the same, but they’re designed to be hit off the tee. They’re a lot easier to hit than a standard iron, and that’s why they’ve become so popular as of late.

Do You Use A Tee With A Driving Iron?

Driving irons are designed to be hit from the tee box, and since that’s the case, you’ll want to use a tee. Using a tee will help you make solid contact and should help you get more height and distance on your shots.

I’m sure you could find someone that hits their driving iron off the deck, but why not make things easier on yourself? There’s a reason why you can only use tees when you’re hitting from the tee box.

In almost all cases, I’ll tee my ball up. Even if it’s barely off the ground, a slightly raised ball should increase your odds of making solid contact.

The only time I might not use a tee is when I’m hitting a wedge on a par 3. Sometimes I’ll tee it up just slightly, but if the grass is nice enough, I’ll just rest it on top.

How Far Should Driving Irons Go?

On average, golfers hit their driving iron 215 yards but the range varies between 190 and 240 yards total. Your yardage will depend on what the loft of your driving iron is, how much speed you generate, and whether or not you’re hitting off a tee.

To figure out the average distance I went around and asked a bunch of different golfers how far they normally hit. I’m sure you know that most people exaggerate how far they hit the ball (not you, of course), so there’s no way to know for sure. Here are the distances I found:

GolferAverage Driving Iron Distance
Average Distance215 yards

Across the 10 golfers, the average distance was 215 yards in total. The shortest hitter was somewhere right around 190 yards on average while the longest was 240 yards.

These numbers might seem a bit high but they’re also better than average golfers (most likely). Golfers who shoot in the 100s, 90, and maybe even 80s probably don’t use a driving iron.

The majority of these golfers probably shoot in the 70s or low 80s. That’s why the numbers are quite high. The good news is that you clearly don’t need to hit the ball far to shoot good scores.

Do Tour Pros Use Driving Irons?

There are a number of professional golfers who carry a driving iron in their bag, especially on narrow or very windy courses. Jordan Spieth, Louis Oosthuizen, and Collin Morikawa have all carried a driving iron in their bag at some point.

The first thing that came to mind when I thought about this was Jordan Spieth’s famous red-shafted iron that he used when he was winning.

I don’t know for sure if anyone carries one in their bag 100% of the time, but a lot of people will use them at certain courses. Examples are narrow courses or windy courses such as Augusta or the British Open.

The reason you’d want to have a driving iron is that it’s easier to hit straight and the trajectory is lower compared to a hybrid or wood. Straight shots mean more fairways and lower shots mean less wind.

Best Driving Iron For Average Golfers

Even though driving irons aren’t used by many weekend hackers, that doesn’t mean it won’t be right for you. That being said, it’ll probably be a good idea to pick one that has a bit more forgiveness.

Here are the best driving irons for average golfers:

  1. Taylormade GAPR Mid (most forgiving)
  2. Cleveland Launcher UHX (budget-friendly)
  3. Taylormade Stealth UDI

If you’re looking for a driving iron, you need to look for one that’s designed for distance, height, and forgiveness. There are a number of irons on the market that are built for better players, so chances are, you’ll struggle to hit them.

I’ve been able to find a few of them that could be decent for the average hacker. Instead of being a bulkier iron, they’re much more between an iron and a hybrid. You get the benefits of each of them.

I haven’t been able to try all of the driving irons out there, but I did narrow things down to the three I mentioned above. Out of the three irons, the Taylormade GAPR Mid was the best for me.

Taylormade GAPR Mid

If you’re in the market for a driving iron, I’d highly recommend this one. It’s pretty much between a standard iron and a hybrid, which gives you the benefits of each club.

One thing to note is that it came out a few years ago, so it might be harder to find. Some places still have it, but you can probably get it used somewhere for a discounted price.

It also comes in a few different models. The GAPR Lo is more like a traditional iron (harder to hit) and the GAPR Hi is more like a hybrid (easier to hit). I like the Mid because it’s right in the middle.

The reason I prefer this club is that it’s the most forgiving and it’s also the cheapest. Since it’s a bit more like a hybrid, it’ll take less speed to get height and distance on your shots.

I found it to be straighter than my hybrid and wood, but not quite as far. That’s fine though because it wasn’t built for max distance. When you need to find the fairway, this is what you should pull out of the bag.

As of writing this, the only place I could find the GAPR Mid was on Golf Avenue. You could also try eBay or search on Google and click on the shopping section.

The Cleveland Launcher UHX is probably the next one I’d recommend if you couldn’t find the GAPR. The UHX irons are built for high handicaps and they also make a utility club, which makes it a solid choice. You can find it on Amazon or on Global Golf.

The Taylormade UDI is the last one I’d recommend, simply because it’s the most expensive. It’s not as forgiving as the GAPR, but it’s also not a whole lot better than the UHX (for the average golfer) to justify the price. If you still want it, you can find it on Amazon or on Global Golf.

What To Do Next:

Enter Our Gear Giveaway: Like free golf stuff? A few times per year, we pick a few of our viewers and send them some gifts. Click here to learn more.

Deals & Discounts: We’ve worked with brands to offer discounts to our readers. See our deals and discounts page to see our current promotions.

Write For Us: Calling all hackers, whackers, and golf enthusiasts. Out Of Bounds Golf is looking for writers. If you’d like to get paid to write about golf, click here for more info.

Hey, I'm Jon. I started Out Of Bounds Golf to share my findings after testing golf gear for the past 10+ years. My goal is to make the game a little easier to understand, whether that's with finding the right product or answering common questions. I currently live in the Pacific Northwest.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments