By Paul Myers

The five iron is one of the most versatile clubs in your bag. While many golfers are moving away from three and four irons in favor of hybrid clubs, most players are still saving a spot in the bag for the traditional five iron. Capable of hitting long approach shots, tee shots on par threes, bump and run pitch shots, and more, the five iron will likely be around as long as golf is played.

With all of that said, not every player is comfortable hitting their five iron from the fairway. Although it isn’t as tough to hit as a three iron, for example, the five iron still requires a quality swing and clean strike. Even just a slight miss-hit of your five iron can lead to poor results.

Below are three keys to hitting better shorts with this important club.

Key #1 – Not in the Middle of Your Stance

Some golfers make the mistake of playing the five iron with a ball position that is right in the middle of their stance. This will make it very difficult to even get the ball up off the ground. A proper ball position with a five iron is closer to your left foot than it is to the middle of your stance. You will need to experiment with various ball positions to find the one that works best for you, but it certainly needs to be forward of center.

Key #2 – Pick a Reasonable Target

You don’t want to get too aggressive with a five iron when hitting an approach shot. Depending on your swing speed, you may be hitting five iron in to the green from 150 – 200 yards away. At that distance, it would be a mistake to pick a target that is close to a bunker or water hazard – you simply can’t expect great accuracy when you are that far from the hole. Instead, try aiming your five iron shots toward the center of the green so that you will have plenty of margin for error. It will take some patience to learn to aim away from the hole, but you should be rewarded when you add up your score at the end of the day.

Key #3 – Choose a Ball Flight

Even if you can’t precisely control the direction of your five iron on each shot, you should still have a preferred shot shape for this club. Most amateur golfers don’t possess the skill to intentionally curve their long irons or woods, but that task is a little bit easier to accomplish with a five iron. While practicing on the range, hit plenty of five iron shots so you can determine your natural shot shape. From there, use that information when you get out on the course so you know exactly how to aim. Playing to your natural ball flight with a five iron will make it far easier to achieve good results.

The five iron is one of the clubs that you should spend a lot of time with on the driving range. Most golfers will use this club several times within the course of a round, so fine tuning your swing with the five iron is a worthwhile endeavor.