By Paul Myers

Despite what you might have heard, long irons aren’t dead just yet. Sure, hybrids have replaced long irons in many golfers’ bags, but that doesn’t mean that you have to wave goodbye to yours during the next garage sale. Long irons such as the three iron are useful for a variety of shots around the course, and knowing how to take advantage of the capabilities of this club is key if you are going to keep carrying it in your bag.

If you have been considering giving up on your three iron for good, the following keys might help improve your performance – and cause you to reconsider.

Key #1 – It’s All about Rhythm

Since the long irons have a reputation for being difficult to hit, many golfers try to swing as hard as they can when hitting a three iron shot. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, focus only on the rhythm and timing of your swing. If you make a smooth swing and are able to find the sweet spot at impact, you will be rewarded with a quality shot. Yes, long irons are difficult to hit, but you don’t have to do anything super-human to achieve good results. Stay within yourself and use a good tempo to get the ball up in the air and flying straight for your target.

Key #2 – Relax Your Grip Pressure

Another mistake that many amateurs make is tightening up their grip when they try to hit a long iron shot. A tighter grip means less release through the ball, and you need all the release you can get to hit a good three iron. Prior to starting your swing, make sure your fingers are relaxed around the grip. Also, the muscles in your forearms should be relaxed and comfortable as well. You need to hold on tight enough to maintain control of the club, but you don’t want to hang on so tight that you restrict the speed of your swing. Finding the right grip pressure balance is key to hitting sold long irons.

Key #3 – Eyes on the Ball

One of the oldest tips in the book is one of the most important as far as three iron ball striking is concerned. It is key to strike your long irons on the middle of the club face, and that job gets much easier when you keep your eye on the ball throughout the swing. Make it a point to keep your eyes focused on the back of the golf ball from the time you start your swing until the ball has been launched into the air. If you can resist the temptation to look up early, you can hit some of the best long irons of your life.

A three iron may or may not have a place in your bag, but don’t throw yours out just because so many others have done the same. Instead, work on your swing using the tips above and see what kind of performance you can get out of your three iron – you might be surprised at just how useful it can be in your pursuit of shooting lower scores.