All posts by Joe M

What Is A Tight Lie In Golf?


A tight lie in golf is when a ball is on a small amount of grass or sitting on a bare patch of dirt. For handicap golfers, a shot from a tight lie is one of the most difficult to execute. 

Playing the golf ball from a tight lie requires a bit of thought and precise execution of the golf shot. From tight lies it's easy to hit a thin shot, where the leading edge of the golf club strikes the ball instead of the club face.

playing golf in the wind

Playing a burnt course with lots of tight lies in South Africa

How to Identify a Tight Lie

A tight lie is usually found when there are hard ground conditions on the golf course. They are very common during the summer or warmer months when golf courses dry out. You may have seen a tight lie when playing a links style course as the ground is naturally much firmer.

In reality we see tight lies every time we play golf - when the golf ball sits on the green! The difference is that you aren't taking a full shot with an iron or wood from the green (or I hope not) and using a putter off such a tight lie is much easier.

Experienced golfers are fully aware of the potential issues that come from a tight lie. To the unseasoned eye, it might look like the ball is sitting up, just asking to be hit.

But as you take a closer look, you see you have a tight lie and realize it's going to take a different club and type of swing to play the ball effectively.

To make matters worse, your margin for error has narrowed considerably! Nothing less than a perfect strike is going to make the ball behave in a way you can predict. Sounding fun? Read on to learn how to get out of this situation.

Where can you find a tight lie?

  • Burnt out areas with very little grass
  • Parts of the course without good irrigation
  • Hardpan surfaces
  • Bald areas without any grass at all
  • Fairways and fringe where the grass was cut too low

These are some of the most common places you might find a tight lie, and hopefully you can adjust your game to avoid them.

You will also find a tight lie on a tee boxes. As you'll be using a tee to raise the ball in the air, it won't really matter.

If you're playing in frozen conditions in the winter months, everything will be a tight lie due to the hard surface, and the club will bounce off the ground making it tough to make solid contact with the golf ball.

golf ball sat on a tight lie

It might look like there's grass here, but this ball is on a very tight lie and will require a perfect strike. 

How to Play from a Tight Lie

The toughest thing about a shot from a tight lie is that it requires a precise strike. If you catch the ball slightly fat or heavy, you will thin the golf ball. If you try to hit up on the ball to "scoop" it off the tight surface, you can blade or top the ball. Either way, the ball will not go where you intended. So what can you do?

Hitting Irons From Tight Lies

Compressing the back off the golf ball pretty much eliminates a tight lie. Taking a divot can be difficult, so you want to feel like you're bruising the turf with your irons. This will lead you to "pick" the ball from the surface.

Making contact at the very bottom of your swing prevents a tight lie from being too much of a problem. Just look at a pro golfer, they have no issue hitting from a super tight lie like a cart path, in some ways they'd prefer it!

Pitching tight lies

Hitting pitch shots from awkward distances within 75 yards is hard enough, but add in a tight lie and things start to get that little bit tougher. I think that there are a couple of options available to you and one it something you might not have considered!

First option - take a low bounce wedge, and play the shot as your normally would. Yes, you'll need a good strike off a bare lie, but the low bounce will help you by preventing the club from digging in.

Second option - use fairway woods and "putt" the ball to the hole. This will require the ground between you and the green to be dry with very little grass underneath, but it could be the secret to success from a bare lie! You will need a lot of feel to play this shot as you won't be making a full swing, but the wide sole of the fairway wood will make it way easier to strike the ball. Play the golf ball from off your front foot and be confident hitting the shot.

Chipping from tight lies

If you find a tight lie greenside, then I suggest playing a bump and run chip shot. Take a club like a 7 or 8 iron and have the ball at the back of your stance, nearer your back foot. The reason I recommend using an iron over a sand wedge for example, is that all we want to do is get the ball rolling forward and remove the need for an absolutely perfect strike.

If you have a high skill level, you might be able to use your lob or sand wedge to get the ball airborne quickly, but I would play the percentages and bump the ball all day.

chipping with a hybrid

Hybrid from tight lies

My personal favorite club to use on a tight lie is a hybrid. With a hybrid, you can sweep the ground without a divot, elevate the ball, and get some distance.

The important thing to remember here is not to come down steep as that will cause too much club-turf interaction.

Unsurprisingly, I'm also a big fan of the 15-yard hybrid chip shot that runs up the fairway and onto the green.

Tight lie vs bare lie

A tight lie will most likely have some grass between the ball and the turf, but not much. A bare lie is when there is nothing but dirt under the ball. Both are tough to play from!

Adams golf Tight lies fairway woods

Adams golf are famous for making super forgiving fairway clubs, and their tight lies models have been helping golfers find the sweet spot for years. I have a Tight lies Ti+ 3 wood and it's a rocket launcher. The sole of the club is shaped specifically to be hit from tight lies and it really lives up to its name. It's also really good from a fluffy lie where the ball is sitting up. I'm yet to find something it can't do! If you see the adverts on the Golf channel, get one, you won't regret it.  

Final thoughts on what is a tight lie in golf?

A tight lie is less than ideal for most handicap golfers, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. I hope that this guide has give you a few tips and tricks to make the most of these tricky lies on the golf course. 

Why do golf balls have dimples? (All you need to know)

If you've ever seen a golf ball you will notice that it has loads of small indentations on its surface. These little craters are called dimples and they are really important for golf ball aerodynamics. A smooth golf ball just won't work when playing golf, so we have to use a dimpled golf ball.

Why does a golf ball have dimples? 

Early golf balls were smooth. As golfers used the same balls over and over on the golf course, they started to notice that the more beat-up golf balls were traveling farther than their new, smooth golf ball! These golf pioneers realised that the nicks, bumps, and slices were helping them play better. Now, all a golf ball manufacturers put dimples on golf balls. Physicists have since scientifically proven that a dimpled golf ball will perform much better than a smooth ball making it much easier to play golf.

refurbished golf balls

Avoid smooth looking golf balls. They don't work!

Golf ball dimples aerodynamics

The dimples in golf balls create turbulence which, if done right, reduces drag, making it go farther and increasing the golf ball's lift.

The mixed airflow is of two types: laminar and turbulent. Laminar movement creates less drag but is vulnerable to "separation”— the phenomenon whereby the air layer that clings to the ball as it moves through the air separates from the ball. Turbulent flow creates more drag initially but is less vulnerable to separation. When golf balls were smooth, separation happened easily. 

At high speeds, you want the air layers to cling to the ball as long as possible. The dimples on the turbulent boundary layer make this happen.

How many dimples does an average golf ball have?

According to Scientific American, most golf balls have 300-500 dimples on their surface. The famous Titleist Pro V1 golf ball has exactly 388 dimples. This number and their special dimple pattern make the ball spin and perform in a consistent way.

ProV1 392 golf ball

An old Titleist Pro V1 with 392 dimples. 

How many dimples on a golf ball Titleist

Titleist have developed nearly 2000 unique dimple design patterns for their array of golf balls. Titleist balls are the most used on the PGA tour.

Here's a list of the dimple numbers on some of Titleist's golf balls:

  • Titleist Pro V1 golf ball - 388 dimples
  • Titleist Pro V1X golf ball - 348 dimples
  • Titleist Pro AVX golf ball - 348 dimples
  • Titleist Velocity golf ball - 328 dimples
  • Titleist Tour Soft golf ball - 364 dimples
  • Titleist TruFeel golf ball - 376 dimples

How many dimples on a Callaway golf ball

Callway golf balls are famous for their unique hexagonal dimples. Their balls are used by players like Phil Mickelson and Xander Schauffele.

Here's a list of the dimple numbers on some of Callaway's golf balls:

  • Callaway Chrome Soft golf ball - 332 dimples
  • Callaway Chrome Soft X golf ball - 332 dimples
  • Callaway Supersoft golf ball - 332 dimples
  • Callaway Warbird golf ball - 332 dimples
  • Callaway CXR Power golf ball - 332 dimples
  • Callaway CXR Control golf ball - 332 dimples
  • Callaway ERC Soft golf ball - 332 dimples

Final thoughts on why do golf balls have dimples?

Playing a dimpled ball makes golf possible. If you were to use a golf club to hit a smooth ball, you would soon see how hard golf could get - if wasn't hard enough already! Make sure you take notice of a golf balls dimpled pattern next time you play - it's a small wonder of the game. 

Are chippers legal in golf?

Golf chippers are some of the most controversial golf clubs that you can buy. Why? Mainly it's because they actually make the game way easier and this rubs up a lot of golf purists the wrong way. I remember when hybrid golf clubs started to come out, the old boys at my club thought the sky was falling in.

A golf chipper removes some of the common issues you get from playing with a sand wedge or lob wedge around the green and can help to remove duffs and fluffs, allowing you to use a putting stroke to chip the golf ball with ease. So what's all the fuss about a golf chipper?

The main sticking point and why golf chippers cause controversy is that some people thing they aren't legal for tournament play. So, are golf chippers legal?

So, are golf chippers legal? The simple answer is YES. According to the USGA, a chipper is a legal club. 

But as ever, there are some rules you need to follow. For example, that cheap two-way chipper you bought or that long shafted chipper in your garage are illegal clubs. Don't shoot the messenger.

With chippers becoming more and more popular, you might be tempted to add one to your bag. I have one, but I did my research to make sure that it's legal for tournament play on the golf course. Here's what I have found so you can make sure you are playing legal golf equipment and don't get banned from your golf club.

Intech EZ Chipper

Are golf chippers legal?

Golf chippers are legal because they are classed as iron clubs instead of putters. This comes right from the Equipment FAQ at the USGA (United States Golf Association) . But, as they are considered to be a standard golf club, they must follow the same rules as other woods and irons equipment in the game.

Some of the rules for using chippers as legal golf clubs include:

  • You cannot use a chipper with a putter grip. (That would make things too easy)
  • The chipper must have only one striking face
  • No long chippers are allowed (chipper must be the same length as a 7 iron).

You must follow these rules of risk being disqualified from any competition you're playing in.

If in doubt look for a stamp on the chipper that says “USGA qualified” to know whether or not the chipper is legal in gameplay. Brands such as Wilson, Ping and Cleveland make legal golf clubs.

Can You Use a Chipper in a Golf Competition?

Yes. You can use your golf chipper in your golf club competitions.

You are unlikely to see professional golfers use a chipper on the PGA tour even though they are a legal club. Top players have the skills to manipulate the golf ball with any club in their bag and so don't see the need to take up a slot with a specialist chipping club.

Chippers are specifically designed for golfers with a mid to high handicap. High skill players want to have complete control over their ball and its spin, so a chipper is not a common piece of golfing equipment at professional levels.

Should You Use a Golf Chipper?

If you can't chip, then getting a chipper is going to make the game of golf much easier for you. I have used a seven or eight iron for shots around the green for a long time, and a chipper replicates the type of trajectory and roll out you would get with these clubs.

A chipper feels like a putter in many ways and you use a chipper in similar way, by using a putting stroke. You will notice that your golf balls won't have much spin, so you need to factor in some roll out.

Are Double-Sided Chippers Legal in Golf?

While a regular chipper is legal in golf, a double-sided chipper is not. In fact, if you or your teammate are caught using a double-sided chipper, you will be automatically disqualified. In team situations, the entire team will be disqualified for the game.

The biggest issue with two-way chippers is that there are two club faces. USGA rules state that a piece of equipment is legal as long as the clubfaces are less than ten degrees in loft. Therefore, a putter with two clubfaces is legal. Since a two-way chipper's clubfaces exceed the ten-degree rule, they are not legal.

If you are playing for recreational purposes only, don't discount a two-way chipper. Two-way chippers are great for left and right-handed players. You can chip and hit shots with them. Not only that, but a two-way chipper can handle an immense amount of obstacles, so you have a better chance of making it in the hole.

How Far Can You Hit a Golf Chipper?

A golf chipper is a short game club so it's designed for finesse shots around 30 yards from the flag. Mostly you will be using a chipper from the fringe of the green, not for full shots!

What is the Difference Between a Chipper and a Wedge?

Are you looking to put a chipper in your golf bag? As long as it is not two-way, then it can be used in golf legally. You might be wondering if it's worth removing a wedge to add a chipper. Here are the main differences to help your decision.

  • Chippers have a loft variation of anywhere from 32 to 37 degrees, while a wedge has 44 to 65.
  • Wedges and chippers are convenient for the short game, although a chipper is better suited for shots from the fringe.
  • Wedges are better suited for long shots nearing 140 yards, while a chipper is better suited for shorter shots of up to 30 yards.
  • Chippers work like a putter, while a wedge is an iron.
  • Chippers are a rather new invention, while wedges have been around for quite some time, which is why it is somewhat unknown whether or not chippers are “legal” in golf.

What are the best golf chippers?

I have written an article detailing the best chippers in golf. Check it out here. In my opinion, the best chipper golf club is the Cleveland Smart Sole C.

Final thoughts on are chippers legal in golf?

If you are struggling with your golf game inside chipping range, then a specialist chipping club might be for your. Shots around the green are where you're going to score so any help you can get as a handicap golfer should be grabbed with both hands. Try one out on the golf course and see how the golf ball reacts. It could be the key to unlock your short game. 

How much space do you need for a Golf Simulator? (Golf simulator dimensions)

How much space do you need for a golf simulator? What are the minimum golf simulator dimensions? What height does a golf simulator need? All of these are legitimate questions when it comes to choosing a space for a golf simulator.

You don't want to be forking out some serious cash on a simulator only to find out that the room or space you had in mind doesn't work. We have seen guys go by the manufacturers recommendations and then discover that their space is WAY too small. Let's not fall into that costly trap!

To build a golf simulator, you need a space that measures AT MINIMUM 12 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 9 feet high. Larger rooms or spaces are always better. You're going to need 15 feet of width to enjoy a central aim. You could require more length, width, or height depending on your physical height and swing, your launch monitor, and your impact screen setup.

jim and his skytrak setup

SkyTrak set up in a garage

How much Room Length do I need for a Golf Simulator?

You need at least 12 feet (3.05m) in length for your simulator. Within this length you will need to have:

  • Hitting mat
  • Space for your swing with a driver
  • Space for the ball to travel off the club
  • Room for your net/screen
  • Room for your projector (if needed)
  • Space for your net/screen to take the impact of the golf ball without it hitting a wall behind (Pro tip)

Yes, you can have a set up with 10-12 feet but I don't recommend this length. You won't be able to swing with a longer club length and there will be no room behind the net. People often forget about this space behind the net/screen until they hit their first shot and the ball comes rocketing back at them off the wall. Not great.

If you're using a projector, you will need in excess of 12 feet for sure. Some short throw projectors like the BenQ MW632ST WXGA can give you decent sized image from as little as 5ft, but I wouldn't want to test it out!

What if my room isn't long enough?

If your room or space isn't long enough for you to swing your longest club, you have a decision to make. Do you bite the bullet and limit your self to swinging shorter clubs only, or do you find a space which has better golf simulator dimensions.

From experience, the last thing you want to happen is for your swing to change because you're practicing in a cramped area. That's no the point of having an indoor golf simulator is it? You want to pick up any golf club and comfortably swing it and be able to practice like you're playing outside.

Another consideration with a small golf simulator room size is that it will reduce the amoubt of bells and whistles and added features you might have want to add. Yes, having a small simulator is arguably better than no simulator, but be aware that a small simulator space will limit your ability to set up cameras to record your swing and put up mirrors for training purposes etc.

What impact does room length have on equipment?

Net and impact screen

A smaller golf simulator room means you are going to need a high quality impact screen or net that won't deform much when the ball hits. trust me on this, you really do not want the ball ricocheting backward and hitting you in the nether regions or knee caps.

Projector

A shorter simulator space means you have to carefully choose your projector. DO NOT MESS THIS UP. You're going to need a short throw projector. This is a special projector designed to work in a smaller room and still provide a good quality picture.

A small space also means you're going to have to think carefully about projector placement. You don't want to hit your projector with your swing. You also don't want your own shadow on the screen blocking out the view of the course.

My preferred short throw projector is the BenQ MW632ST WXGA.

Here is a really good website to help with projector calculations. Choose your project and throw distance and the calculator will do the rest, telling you how big your image will be. Like I said before don't mess this up. Take your time and use all of the resources available to make the correct decision.

High end radar based simulators like TrackMan and ShotScope require a longer space. The TrackMan website states the TrackMan4 needs a minimum distance from radar to net of 16ft (18ft for the TrackMan3e). I would go on the side of caution and allow 10-20% more than this to be safe.

phil home setup skytrak and screens

Note the width of this simulator set up. It's taking up nearly a whole double garage and there is plenty of room. 

How much room width do I need for a golf simulator?

Having a wide enough space for your simulator build might be even more important than room length. Why? You need to have enough space to swing your driver or the longest club without hitting the walls in front or behind you. The minimum room width I'd recommend having for a golf simulator build is 10ft (3.05m).

What if my room is too narrow?

If your golf simulator space is too narrow you'll end up with these problems:

  • You can't swing your longer clubs (driver, 3 wood, 5 wood etc.) at all
  • You can swing your longer clubs BUT you end up set up with the ball (and simulator) tucked up against a wall. This means when setting up to hit a straight shot at the screen you'll be aiming at the far right of the screen (for a right-hander). To aim at the centre of the screen you'd effectively have to aim left. This isn't going to produce a good practice environment.

What impact does room width have on Simulator equipment?

If you can swing a club in the space you have, your simulator will still work BUT!

You could be hampered by not being able to aim properly and having to swing in a slightly awkward way. Not good.

You may have to purchase a smaller screen than initially planned for but if you factor this in before you buy then you'll be just fine. A narrow room might also limit the mats you can buy, as the premium ones tend to be on the larger side.Your room width shouldn't have an affect your netting or blackout curtains. Just make sure you get the right size for the space.

Will you be using your simulator for both lefties and righties?

One problem with a narrow room is that if you have everything set up perfectly for a right-handed golfer and then you move the simulator to the other side of the mat for a left-hander, then you'll find that you won't have space. You may hit your projector, you may find the left-hander is set up right at the left wall.

You might just get away with it or it might just have to ignore your left-handed friends. Sorry.

Achieving a proper aim (right down the middle) 

If you can't do this with a projector set up, you might as well not have a simulator. It's a deal breaker.

If you've ever been to a TrackMan range, you'll note how much they stress that you aim at the right marker in the distance. If not, every shot you hit will fee weird.

In your space, can you draw a straight line through the ball towards the impact screen, parallel to the mat, so that it hits the center of the screen?

To aim at the right (or left) of the screen means your target line will not be the target line displayed on your screen. The center line of your launch monitor's driving range will be well away from where you're aiming. 

To make sure you're aiming down the middle you need the hitting section of your mat directly in line with the middle of your screen.

Width here is key. Imagine that the projector and launch monitor are right up against a wall. How can you then aim to the side opposite to where the gear is set up? Sure you can move the line in the sim software, but that's a bit of a pain .

Can you offset the target line on a launch monitor?

Yes, usually. You can do this for Skytrak's driving range, and for the practice facilities of other launch monitors.

You can offset the centerline on the Skytrak driving range to accommodate those with target lines off to the side. This sort of solves the problem but isn't perfect. Other launch monitor software allow you to do this too.

This offset doesn't solve the off-center problem when using simulation software to play courses, such as WGT or TGC.

jason payne home skytrak

The pitched roof of this SkyTrak set up mean there's no worry about height

How much room height do I need for a golf simulator?

Height is comfortably the most important dimension when planning a golf simulator room. If your ceiling is too low for you to swing a club your simulator build journey ends here.

The minimum height you need for your simulator would be 8.5ft (2.59m) and a comfortable height would be more like 10ft.

I'm planning a post on what options you do have with limited height space. If you're taller and want to swing driver then you'll need more height than this. 

What if my room isn't tall enough?

You could say that you have quite a flat swing so you'll be okay. I would argue, however, that altering your swing or trying to maintain a sub-optimal swing plane to suit a small space is counterproductive and will not allow you to progress as a golfer.

You may need to find an alternative space or delay your simulator build until you're in a position to access a better space (eg you've moved house).

You could do a halfway solution. If you have just under the required space for your driver swing then why not have a simple hitting bay set up where you practice your wedges and irons. This would include an enclosure, mat, and netting. You can get cheaper simulator hardware that tells you the carry distance of your shots (rather than being a full simulator).

This way you could improve your game at home still rather than giving up your simulator journey completely. You can even add extra ‘swing studio features' such as mirrors, cameras, and swing video computer software. 

What impact does the room height have on equipment?

You will still need an enclosure and netting for an irons and wedges hitting bay. The enclosure will have to be an appropriate height if you're buying a ready-to-build enclosure. Again, if you're building using metal piping or similar materials you can size it appropriately.

You won't need a projector for this setup, or a screen. Your mat will not change. You can save on the simulator and either have a very simple hitting bay or add in a piece of kit that tells you your carry distance. There are GPS systems that have a launch monitor feature included, whilst stopping short of being a full golf simulator.

What are the minimum ‘ideal' dimensions for a golf simulator?

We've talked about the absolute minimum room dimensions for a golf simulator at the start of this article. You could say that the ideal dimensions for a golf simulator would be one with unlimited space. Not many people have a garage the size of an aircraft hanger though.

The dimensions you'll need for a comfortable space are:

  • 18ft long
  • 10ft high
  • 15ft wide (if used for right and left-handed golfers)
  • (13ft wide if used for either right or left-handed golfers

A space at least this big will allow you to avoid the problems listed above with rooms too short, narrow and not tall enough.

  • You should be able to take a full swing with your driver and not feel any anxiety about hitting a wall or ceiling.
  • There should have room to mount your projector and achieve your desired image size on your screen without issue.
  • You should be able to address your ball so that your target line is in the very center of your hitting bay, extending to the center of your impact screen.
  • All your equipment should work in the space you've set up (double check this if you're buying a high-end simulator).
hitting screen projector mevo plus

This home set up has everything you would need from a high end fitting studio. 

Do you have room for anything else in your simulator room?

What about mirrors and swing cameras?

I believe the perfect golf simulator doubles up as a swing studio. I'd like to be able to record my swing from several angles, see my swing with well-positioned mirrors, and have room for a computer to run my simulator software. Having these items will feed into your length and width considerations. 

What about space for seats and other items?

My perfect golf simulator would also double up as a home theatre for watching movies. It would be warm enough (not a draughty garage) and have some comfortable chairs that I could move into position when not using the simulator itself.

You could even add a bar for when your mates come over for rounds on the simulator.

Such items are definitely not essential and if you only have room for the simulator in your space that is totally fine.

Cheaper options for restricted space

  1. A hitting bay without the simulator – a cheaper option all round. You could add a GPS/launch monitor which will allow you to hone in your wedge and iron carry distances. 
  2. An Iron and wedge only simulator bay if you're restricted on one or more of height, width, and length

Conclusion – How much space do you need for a Golf Simulator? 

I hope this article has answered some of your questions about the required dimensions for your golf simulator.

Please follow these steps to assess your space needs. 

  1. Swing your driver at the driving range and get a friend to photograph you. Make the highest swing you can. Make the flattest/widest swing you can. Then use the photo to try and see how high up the range your club goes. I went to a bay next to the driving range wall with slats on the wall. I saw which slat related to my club by looking at the photo. Then I used a tape measure to see how high this was. You can do the same with width if you address the ball on the mat then use any floor markings to see how wide you go. This will give you your height and width absolute minimums. 
  2. Once you're progressing with the planning of your simulator, visit https://www.projectorcentral.com/projection-calculator-pro.cfm to work out whether your proposed projector and proposed projector position will give you your desired image size on your impact screen.

What Do The Numbers On Golf Balls Mean?

If you're new to the game of golf, you may have noticed that golf balls have number on them. But what do the numbers printed on a golf ball mean? In this article we're going to answer this question and give you some in depth information too.

It's not that complicated, but number on a golf ball can mean a few things. Most golf ball manufacturers will put numbers on balls, mostly to stop you picking up the wrong golf ball but that's not the only reason.

The numbers on a golf ball could indicate:

● An identification number, so you can tell which ball is yours (most common)

● The number of dimples on the golf ball

● The golf ball's compression rating

Identification purposes (most common) 

By far the most common number on a golf ball is a single digit number printed for identification purposes.

Many golfers will play the same brand and model of ball and this can cause mix ups when players are looking for their balls after hitting their shots. It's common practice to tell your playing partners which make and model of ball you're playing on the first tee along with it's identifying number or markings.

Most major manufacturers like Titleist, Callaway, Srixon, TaylorMade and Bridgestone will print a single digit number from 1-4 on their balls. Why is this? Most golfers purchase golf balls in boxes of a dozen. These are split into sleeves of three, with each sleeve having the same number printed on them. 12 divided by 3 is four sleeves, so you'll most likely have 1-4 on your balls.

It's has become more common for players to customise the number on their balls when buying them from a store like Golf Galaxy or direct from the manufacturer. This used to be something reserved to professional golfers, but now an avid golfer can select a number with a personal meaning to go on their balls.

Personal Golf ball numbers for identification can go into double digit numbers but most golf balls will have single digit numbers. If you play the same golf ball as your playing partners but don't want to splash the cash on some custom balls, using a permanent marker to make some unique markings will do the job. Never play the wrong ball on the golf course again!

These identification numbers are found on all manufactured golf balls, whereas dimple numbers are optional. Depending on the brand of golf balls you have, it's usually found directly above or underneath the brand name. 

Taylormade RBZ golf ball

TaylorMade RBZ golf ball with custom numbers

Number of Dimples: Three digit number

It's not that common these days, but you might see a triple digit number on your golf ball. This number is probably be found underneath the ball's brand name and can range anywhere from 300 to 500. This number is telling you how many dimples or indentations there are on the golf ball.

Knowing the number of dimples on the ball helps you to understand how it might perform when you've hit it. The Titleist PRO V1 used to have the number 392 printed on its cover to indicate that it had 392 dimples. The manufacturer took this off after 2005 as golfers then understood that this was a premium golf ball. It was also to differentiate between the PRO V1* (392 dimples) and the PRO V1X (332 dimples).

Dimples on a golf ball are responsible for creating boundary layer of air that clings to the ball's surface. In basic language this means that your ball will fly through the air with a level of predictability if you strike it consistently.

If you've ever played an old scuffed up ball you took from a driving range, you might notice that it behaves strangely in the air. This is because there is uneven friction or none at all which can make the ball drop out of the sky with no spin.

Some golf ball manufacturers no longer print the number of dimples on a ball, or they never did. Of course, like many golf ball manufacturers out there, some have roots going back a long time. Printing the number of dimples on a golf ball is part of what makes up their brand.

ProV1 392 golf ball

Older Titleist Pro V1 - 392 golf ball. The 392 refers to the number of dimples.  

Golf ball compression rating

This is probably less common than the number of dimples, but you might find a two or three digit number on a golf ball which relates to its compression ratings.

Golf ball compression rating isn't something that was that interesting until manufacturers started releasing extreme distance and "soft" golf balls into the market. I've written a full article about golf ball compression but basically, a lower compression rating will be a "soft" feeling golf ball and a high compression rating will equate to a firmer or "faster" golf ball.

Most golfers prefer a ball with a medium compression rating which gives them a combination of green side feel and then distance with their longer clubs.

When it comes to compression, the numbers range between a score of 30 and 120. The softest being 30, and the hardest 120.

Precept MC 30 golf ball

Precept MC golf ball with 30 compression number printed on it. 

Red vs. black numbers on golf balls

Often the colour of the number on a golf ball doesn't have much meaning other than for design and marketing purposes. You might have noticed that on some Titleist golf balls, the number below the brand name is either red or black. Red numbers on a Titleist ball mean it's a Pro V1X and black is used on pretty much every other ball that they make.

TaylorMade will use lots of different colours, the RBZ has green numbers while their project(a) ball had orange numbers.

Srixon will will use blue numbers on golf balls for their AD333 model and green numbers for their Soft Feel model.

As a rule though, you will see a red number on the harder variation of a brand's premium golf ball. This is the case for Titleist (Pro V1 line), TaylorMade (TP5 line), and Bridgestone.

Titleist Prov1x golf ball

Titleist Pro V1X golf ball with red numbers.

Final thought on number on golf ball and what numbers on golf ball means

Most commonly, the number printed on golf balls is for identification purposes. If you're playing a competitive game of golf and play the wrong ball, you will be penalised, so the golf manufacturers have made it as easy as possible for us to find and play the right ball. Choose your lucky number and get playing! 

How to hit a 9 iron (All you need to know)

The 9 iron should be one of the go to golf clubs in your bag. It's going to be a key part of your game within 150 yards and hitting it well leads to lower scores, whatever your handicap is.

So what's the secret for how to hit a 9 iron?

The short irons in your set require a downward strike and you are going to need to have a swing that allows you to do this. Once you have this mastered, you will find hitting the other irons in your bag will get easier, especially the pitching wedge, 8 and 9 irons.

Your 9 iron can also be used for chip shots and bump and runs around the green. It's a really versatile club, so let's look into some of the basics around the 9 irons and how you can learn to hit it one, step by step.

9 iron for chipping

What Is A 9 Iron? 

A 9 iron is a golf club that will fits in the gap between your pitching wedge and 8 iron. The loft of this club will depend on the brand and manufacturer, but usually the loft of 9 iron will be between 40 and 43 degrees. 

The 9 iron is one of your short irons, and will have a length of around 35.5 inches.

A 9 iron is designed to be hit from distances between 120 to 150 yards depending on ability. The average distance for a 9 iron is 126 yards. The loft on the club means the ball will launch high into the air and hopefully land softly on the green.

I will often use my 9 iron for chip shots around the green when I want the ball to roll out to the hole with less spin than my sand wedge.

How To Hit A 9 Iron 

It's up to you how you want to learn to hit a 9 iron. I always start by trying to hit three quarter shots with my clubs to get that feeling of a solid contact before trying to hit full or partial shots. When I'm at the driving range, I'll try to hit 30-40 balls with one club to groove a feeling before moving onto other irons or woods.

Here a few things to try at the driving range with your 9 iron.

Step 1: Fundamentals - Grip, Stance and Ball Position

Having good fundamentals and set up is essential when hitting any type of golf shot, including with a 9 iron.

9 iron grip

Your grip with a 9 iron should ideally be on the neutral side to promote a straighter ball flight, but I have seen every type of grip imaginable work, so find what suits you best and stick with it.

As it's a shorter club with more loft, the club face of a 9 iron is pretty easy to square up at impact. An exaggerated grip will allow you shape the ball if you have the skill, but high handicappers should try to hit the ball as straight as possible.

9 Iron Stance

Standing up to the ball for a 9 iron shot should be pretty relaxed. It's a shorter club and doesn't require the strong base you would need for a long iron or driver. Have you feet a bit narrower than shoulder width apart and it's ok to feel like your shoulders are aiming slightly left of the target.

9 iron Ball position

The ball position with your 9 iron should be in the middle of your stance.

It's ok to have the ball slightly back in your stance (about an inch from middle) if you're trying to hit a lower punchy shot with the 9 iron.

9 iron ball position

Step 2: The Takeaway 

Now we've got your fundamentals sorted with the 9 iron, let's start the swing. The takeaway of your golf swing is the first few feet behind the ball, where you start your motion.

The takeaway should start low and slow, allowing the face of the 9 iron to naturally rotate as you bring the club back. Resist the temptation to "pick" the club up steeply. You need to trust the loft of the 9 iron to get the ball into the air, don't try and scoop it.

If you start your takeaway with your hips turning and creating a good pivot, you will end up getting the 9 iron set in the right position without too much extra effort. 

Step 3: Finish Your Back Swing 

The takeaway sets the club on its path, now we've got to get it to the stop of swing.

With wedges and short irons, there's no real reason to have to take the club past parallel at the top of the swing. yes, Jon Daly does it, but that guy is a magician and can get everything synched up to get the club back to the ball square.

With a 9 iron shot, we are looking for accuracy and control. Imagine you're playing a slightly longer pitch shot, and watch how this swing produces an accurate shot with plenty of stopping power.

If you need more distance to get over a hazard for example, just club up and hit the 8 iron. 

Step 4: Impact Position & Taking a Divot

We all swing the club differently, but something we can all try to have in common with professionals is the impact position. With the 9 iron we want to compress the golf ball, which means hitting it at the low point of our swing.

It doesn't matter if it's the 9 iron, a 5 iron or a sand wedge, the first important tip is to be able to control where the iron contacts the ground and takes a divot. When you take a divot, you create solid contact and more consistent distances with your 9 iron. The difference between low and high handicap golfers comes down to pure iron strikes. 

The high handicap golfer struggles to take divots out of fear of messing up the fairway or fear of chunking the ball. You must banish the fear of hitting a fat shot and PRACTICE TAKING DIVOTS. 

How to hit a divot with your 9 iron

  • Find a piece of grass anywhere that you don't mind messing up 
  • Start by hitting the ground without a ball and take divots. You can swing and take a satisfying divot over and over as many times as necessary
  • Use a wiffle ball and hit shots with the wiffle ball, focusing on the front of the ball - the part of the golf ball closest to the target. Try start your divot on the target side of the ball. 
  • On the golf course: Take practice swings in the rough when no one is hitting. Before your shot, practice swings should take a shallow divot before your real shot. 

If you are can't control the low point where the divot starts, try put 60% of your weight on your front leg.  Keep that head from swaying and hit a divot. 

Step 5: Finish Your Swing

This might sound a bit silly, but the key to a quality swing with your 9 iron is to finish your swing. I see so many handicap golfers quit on their swings. It's a subconscious thing, but it's like they think they're going to hit a bad shot before they've even made contact with the ball!

Finishing your swing keeps the club moving and will help you to find the low point of your swing, meaning you're taking a divot and compressing the ball. Make a few deliberate practice swings and finish looking at the target. Then step up to the ball and repeat this feeling. This time, the ball will just happen to get in the way. Easy life.

finish your swing 9 iron

When Should I Hit A 9 Iron? 

As we've covered, the 9 iron is a shorter club used to attack the green. You will most likely use it for shots between 120 and 150 yards depending on your ability and swing speed.

Here are few situations where you might use the 9 iron.

Approach Shot

The approach shot into the green is the most common way to use a 9 iron.

The 9 iron is really well suited to an approach as it produces a ball flight which is high to help help the ball stop on the green.

If you're a player with a lot of swing speed, you might be able to get the ball to spin back on the green like the PGA tour pros do! But remember, the 9 iron is a finesse club, accuracy is better than raw distance.

Short Par 3

If you are playing a short par 3 in 9 iron range, (120 to 150 yards) then you will be able to use this club. An advantage here is that you will be placing the ball on a tee peg, meaning you have a perfect lie. Take aim and swing with confidence.

Chipping Around the Green 

As I've said before, the 9 iron is a great club to use for chipping. Most modern chipper clubs will have the same loft as your 9 iron, so why take up the space in your bag with another club?

The bump and run chip is great way to consistently get the ball to the hole. By using a lower loft club, we're reducing the risk of chunking the ball and aren't relying on a perfect strike like you would with a sand or lob wedge.

Place the ball back in your stance (inside your right foot) and use a chipping motion to propel the ball forward. You want to pick a landing spot which is about half way to the hole to allow the ball to roll out. Obviously this will change depending on the speed of the greens you're playing, so try this out when you play next.

9 iron FAQs

Is a 9 iron hard to hit?

Your 9 iron should be one of the easiest irons to hit in your golf bag. It has plenty of loft and a shorter shaft so you should be able to make goof contact with the golf ball consistently.

9 iron distance?

The average player hits their 9 iron 126 yards. If you have a faster swing speed you could hit this club up to 150 yards.

Final Thoughts on How to hit a 9 iron

The 9 iron should be a go to club for you and I hope that everything in this guide will help you to find a way to hit this club consistently. If you want more information on how to hit your irons check out my guides on the 8 iron, 7 iron, 6 iron and 5 iron

Golf Ball Compression Chart: Best ball for your swing speed

Golf ball compression is a tricky subject to understand so we put together this article and golf ball compression chart to help you choose the right golf ball for your swing speed.

Golfers of all skill levels will benefit from playing the right ball for their golf game. But first, you have to understand how different golf balls and golf ball compression numbers will have affect the way the ball behaves.

We all want to play a golf ball which gives us high ball speed, maximum distance and green side control. There are options out there to meet these needs for all skill levels and budgets - you just need to know which ball to choose!

What is golf ball compression?

Before we start selecting golf balls for your game, let's try and understand what golf ball compression is and how it can affect a golf ball's performance.

Golf ball compression is the interaction of the club face with the ball's core, and in general, the softer the golf ball, the more it compresses.

golf ball being compressed at impact

When a golf club hits a golf ball, the impact causes the ball to change shape as it compresses against the face of the club. The ball will then spring off the face towards the target (hopefully!)

Golf ball compression ratings

The golf ball compression rating measures how hard or soft the ball is. The numbers range between a score of 30 and 120. The softest being 30, and the hardest 120.

So soft golf ball = low compression ball , hard golf ball = high compression ball.

Am I making sense?

Ok, let's see how golf ball compression affects your game.

compression harder and softer chart

How to use the golf ball compression chart | Find the perfect golf ball

There are a few variables to consider when trying to select the right golf ball compression for your game. Swing speed, handicap, and desired ball feel will all have impact on choices. Here are a few basics to help use the chart below;

Faster swing speeds need high compression golf balls (105 mph plus)

Why? A higher compression golf ball is designed to give high swing speed players optimal accuracy, spin control, short game responsiveness, ball flight, feel, and backspin to lower their scores on the golf course. The options in this bracket will usually be a premium golf ball.

Average swing speeds (85 – 105 mph) have options

If you are medium swing speed golfer, you have a choice when it comes to the ball you play. If distance is what you're looking for, then go with a lower compression ball.

If you're seeking more ball control, choose a higher compression ball. Be sure to match the compression level with your swing speed. For example, the Bridgestone BRXS tour while being high compression, would not suit your swing speed.

There are some medium compression golf balls in the chart that can offer the best of both worlds.

Slower swing speeds need a lower compression ball to maximise distance

The super premium high compression balls are aimed at low handicappers and pros, so what about the slower swinger or senior golfer?

Distance is at a premium for high handicappers and beginners. Pick a ball that maximizes length, and at slower swing speeds this will be a lower compression golf ball. The softer the ball the more "spring" you'll get for a low swing speed.

compression what is it in golf

Golf Ball Compression vs Swing Speed Chart

Now that we understand the basics, we need do one more thing. That is to make sure we fully understand our swing speed so we can choose the right golf ball compression.

There are a few ways to work out your swing speed.

  1. Go to a Trackman or other radar equipped driving range. Many golf professionals at golf clubs and driving ranges will now have a machine to track your swing speed.
  2. Use a personal device like the Voice Caddie SC300 at a driving range. This device is relatively inexpensive and will allow you to work out your swing speed and club distances on your own.
  3. Use a simple math equation. In order to work out your driver swing speed you can use this simple calculation. Take your total carry distance with driver and divide it by 2.3. So if your driver carried 240 yards take 240 and divide it by 2.3. Your approximate swing speed with the driver is 104 miles per hour.

Dow you know your swing speed? Great! With this information, you can now make an informed decision to select the correct golf ball compression from the ball compression chart and gain maximum performance from your golf ball.

As you will see in the chart below, there are cheaper options available within each swing speed bracket. To make the process easier, we have added a price guide. 

Golf Ball Compression Chart

Golf Ball Compression Chart
Golf BallLayersGolf Ball CompressionSwing SpeedPrice Bracket
FASTSWING SPEED
Mizuno RBX Tour X4 PieceHigh 110+ 105 mph$$$$
Cut DC4 PieceHigh 105+ 105 mph$$$
Taylormade TP5X Pix5 PieceHigh 100+ 105 mph$$$$
Titleist Pro V1 X4 PieceHigh 100+ 105 mph$$$$
Volvik S44 PieceHigh 95+ 95 mph$$$
Callaway Chrome Soft X4 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$$$$
Cut Blue4 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$$
Mizuno RB Tour4 PieceHigh 90+ 85 mph$$$$
Vice Pro Plus4 PieceHigh+ 85 mph$$$
Volvik Crystal3 PieceHigh+ 85 mph$$$
FASTERSWING SPEED
Srixon Z-Star XV4 PieceHigh 100+ 105 mph$$$
Taylormade TP5X5 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$$$$
Wilson Staff Tour4 PieceHigh (no figure)+ 95 mph$$$$
MIDSWING SPEED
Callaway Warbird2 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$
Snell MTB-X3 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$$$
Srixon Z Star3 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$$$
Titleist Pro V13 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$$$$
Volvik XT AMT3 PieceHigh 90+ 95 mph$$$$
Bridgestone Tour B X3 PieceMedium 85+ 85 mph$$$$
Bridgestone Tour B XS3 PieceMedium 85+ 85 mph$$$$
Taylormade TP5 Pix5 PieceMedium 85+ 85 mph$$$$
Volvik S33 PieceMedium 85+ 85 mph$$$
Cut Grey3 PieceMedium 80+ 85 mph$$
Snell MTB – Black3 PieceMedium 80+ 85 mph$$$
Taylormade TP55 PieceMedium 80+ 85 mph$$$$
Titleist AVX3 PieceMedium 80+ 85 mph$$$$
Titleist Tour Speed3 PieceMedium 80+ 85 mph$$$
Volvik Vivid3 PieceMedium 80+ 85 mph$$$
Bridgestone e12 Speed3 PieceMedium 75+ 80 mph$$
Callaway Chrome Soft3 PieceMedium 75+ 80 mph$$$$
Srixon Q Star2 PieceMedium 75+ 80 mph$$$
Volvik Vi Max Soft2 PieceMedium 75+ 80 mph$$
Srixon Q-Star Tour3 PieceMedium 70+ 80 mph$$$
Taylormade Tour Response3 PieceMedium 70+ 80 mph$$$
Taylormade Project (a)3 PieceMedium 70+ 80 mph$$$
Volvik Power Soft2 PieceMedium 70+ 80 mph$$
Volvik XT Soft3 PieceMedium 70+ 80 mph$$$$
Callaway Strata Eagle3 PieceMedium+ 80 mph$
Titleist Velocity2 PieceMedium+ 80 mph$$
Volvik Solice3 PieceMedium+ 80 mph$$$
Wilson Tour Velocity Distance2 PieceMedium+ 80 mph$$
Wilson Tour Velocity Feel2 PieceMedium+ 80 mph$$
SLOWERSWING SPEED
Bridgestone Tour B RX3 PieceLow (65)< 80 mph$$$$
Bridgestone Tour B RXS3 PieceLow (65)< 80 mph$$$$
Cut Matte3 PieceLow (65)< 80 mph$$
Titleist Tour Soft2 PieceLow (65)< 80 mph$$$
Callaway ERC Soft2 PieceLow (60)< 80 mph$$$
Cut Red2 PieceLow (60)< 80 mph$$$
Srixon Soft Feel2 PieceLow (60)< 80 mph$$
Wilson Duo Professional3 PieceLow (60)< 80 mph$$
Bridgestone e12 Soft3 PieceLow (50)< 70 mph$$$
Wilson Fifty Elite2 PieceLow (50)< 70 mph$$
Callaway Superhot3 PieceLow (50)< 70 mph$$
Bridgestone e62 PieceLow (45)< 70 mph$$
Callaway Supersoft2 PieceLow (40)< 70 mph$$
Callaway Supersoft Magna2 PieceLow (40)< 70 mph$$
Taylormade Noodle Long / Soft2 PieceLow (35)< 70 mph$$
Wilson Duo Soft+2 PieceLow (35)< 70 mph$$
Wilson Duo Optix2 PieceLow (30)< 70 mph$$
Mizuno RB 5662 PieceLow< 80 mph$
Mizuno RB 566 V3 PieceLow< 80 mph$
Snell Get Sum2 PieceLow< 80 mph$
Taylormade Soft Response3 PieceLow< 80 mph$$
Titleist TruFeel2 PieceLow< 80 mph$$$
Vice Pro3 PieceLow< 80 mph$$$
Vice Tour3 PieceLow< 80 mph$$
Vice Pro Soft3 PieceLow< 80 mph$$$
Vice Drive2 PieceLow< 80 mph$
Wilson Zip2 PieceLow< 80 mph$$
SPECIALIST LADIES GOLF BALLS
Srixon Soft Feel Lady2 PieceLow (60)< 80 mph$$
Bridgestone e6 Lady2 PieceLow (45)< 70 mph$$
Callaway Reva2 PieceLow< 80 mph$$
Taylormade Kalea2 PieceLow< 80 mph$$

Golf ball comparison chart - other factors

We know that there's a low of information to take in from that golf ball compression chart. If price and swing speed aren't enough of a guide for you to choose a golf ball, you are left with brand and number of layers to help you make a choice.

The second column of the table refers to the number of layers each golf ball model has. As simple rule is that the more layers, the higher the price, but there is more to it than that.

Players of different abilities will get more from balls with a specific number of layers. If you're a high handicapper with a slower swing speed, a premium 5 piece option isn't going to be a golf ball suitable for you. You won't be striking the ball consistently enough to generate the spin needed to make the 5 layers work for you.

Here's a quick break down of how to choose the right layers for you:

2-Piece Golf Balls

The perfect golf ball for beginners and high handicappers with slower swing speeds. These balls often come in a really competitive price point. A great example of a two piece ball is the Srixon Soft Feel.

3-Piece Golf Balls

The Titleist Pro V1 is the gold standard of 3 piece golf balls and can be used by golfers with a variety of swing speeds. Another good 3 piece ball is the Srixon Z star.

4 And 5-Piece Golf Balls

Super premium balls specifically designed for experienced golfers to optimize distance and control. These balls only perform well for players with fast swing speeds.

Balls manufacturers have moved towards "softer" feeling golf balls in recent years but the compression rating of the ball might not always match up to the name. MyGolfSpy state that softer balls are slower balls, so consider that if distance is something you really desire.

Lowest compression golf balls

The lowest compression golf balls on the market are the Wilson DUO Soft coming in at a marshmallow number of 35! The Callaway Supersoft is also pretty darn soft at a rating of 41. 

Best 70 compression golf balls

By far the best 70 compression golf ball is the Srixon Soft Feel. It's not even worth having a conversation about this. It's such a good ball. 

Best 80 compression golf balls

Personally I think the best 80 compression golf ball is the Titleist AVX. This is a premium ball, at the same level of the Pro V1 and I love it. It's super long and barely moves in the air with long irons. Try it out, trust me. 

Best 90 compression golf balls

It's hard to look past the Titleist Pro V1 in the 90 compression zone, but the Callaway Warbird, Snell MTB-X and Srixon Z Star are all great options at a variety of budgets. 

Final thoughts

If I have learned one thing about golf balls in my 25 years of playing golf and watching other golfers, it's that more expensive doesn't always mean better.

Everyone who starts the game thinks they should be playing a Titleist Pro V1, Callway Chrome Soft or TaylorMade TP5, but it's just not the case. These balls can cost upward of $6 each and will they make that much difference to the game of most golfers?

I play the Volvik S4 as it matches my swing speed and my needs around the green. This high compression golf ball wouldn't suit many of my playing partners and they would get similar performance from a cheaper two piece ball.

As with nearly everything in golf, play around with options then stick to what works. Unless you're a total beginner, try not to bounce around different balls. Find one which works and learn how it reacts to your game. It'll save you strokes I promise. 

How To Hit A 5 Iron: 5 Tips for success

The 5 iron is now the longest iron found in the golf bags of most players. The introduction of hybrids and lofted woods has removed the need for 3 and 4 irons. Some players will even choose to replace their 5 iron with a hybrid, but if that's not for you, you are going to want to know how to hit a 5 iron well.

The 5 iron is a really versatile club and can be a very useful tool to get the ball in play off the tee if your longer clubs are misbehaving. It is also going to be one of the clubs you use from 175 yards and out. This is such an important distance for high handicappers as it is where you can slash some shots from you score by getting the ball near to or on the green.

I'm guessing that if your reading this article, you are either struggling with your 5 iron, or just want to get better at hitting this club. There is something really satisfying about pulling a 5 iron from your bag and just ripping it. Making solid contact with a long iron doesn't need to be a struggle. As you will see on my YouTube channel, I will often recommend that players use a club like a 5 iron to form the backbone of their bag.

Let's look at some of the things you can do to make the 5 iron one of your go to clubs.

Why can't I hit a 5 iron? Ways to improve

  1. Learn to control the low point of your golf swing

  2. Trust the loft to get the ball airborne

  3. Pick a really small target

  4. Improve your ball striking from different lies

  5. Use your 5 iron from the tee

How To Hit A 5 Iron better step by step

Tip #1: Control the low point of your golf swing

Golf ball position is a really simple fundamental to fix as it's something you do in every golf shot, from hitting the driver to chipping and putting. I know this because my ball position slowly creeps back in my stance toward my back foot over time and I have to be really disciplined in maintaining a good golf ball position every time I swing.

Most amateur golfers struggle to control where the low point of their swing is so they hit the ground before the ball a lot of the time. It's one of the biggest differences between high handicap and low handicap players and you can improve it easily.

Having a consistent ball position with your 5 iron is going to help you have a more consistent strike point and encourage a better connection. You can take a divot or you can clip the grass or just skim the grass without much contact it doesn't matter.

bottom for the swing for irons

The most important thing when hitting your long irons like your 5 iron is that your iron club head strikes the ball at the bottom of the arc. In the picture above, the bottom of my arc with this 5 iron is inside my left heel. The camera angle is not 100% square but my ideal ball position is about 1-2 inches inside my left heel.

A ball position too far back creates a steep angle into the golf ball at impact and encourages a hook. A ball position that is too far forward encourages a slice.

How do you find your correct ball position?

Go to a driving range, get a bucket but do not hit any balls yet. Get your 5 iron.

First start by hitting the ground with your normal swing. Don't try hit an imaginary ball. Just swing your swing and try to clip the bottom of a daisy stem right out the ground. Notice and pay attention to where the club head is striking the turf in relation to your stance. You'll find that it strikes the ground in roughly the same spot over and over.

THIS is your correct bottom or low point of your golf swing with the 5 iron. Place the ball at the position at start of the divot and begin to hit balls again. by trying to nip the daisy stem out of the ground. I bet you'll start hitting the ball crisply. Remember the point is to get your club head to swing, while the ball gets in the way of your natural arc.

Drill that ball position

For the 5 iron (which is most likely your longest iron) I would broadly say that the ball needs to be slightly further forward in your stance so that you can get your weight forward. Again, this will mean different things to different players, but get to a driving range, and do the daisy cutting routine above. 

But once you know where your low point is, you must DRILL it into your body and your mind and your eyes. Once you're settled on the ball position you want, use alignment sticks to make a cross or a T-shape to know that every time you take a stance, you are in the correct position. 

Pro tip: Get a friend or playing partner to take a photo of your ball position from time to time to check where it is. Or get a tripod to film yourself. 

Tip #2: Trust the loft of the club to get the ball in the air

As the loft of the club face decreases, golfers do strange things to get the ball into the air. Some will put the ball by their front foot and then attempt to scoop the ball into the air using a very wristy swing. This actually creates a big slice!

This isn't a very natural movement and could cause you to injure yourself. The 5 iron loft is around 21 to 24 degrees. I promise that the club has enough loft to get the ball in the air. You don't need to help it.

I also see many high handicap golfers decelerate at the impact area. This isn't limited to the five iron, I have seen this happen throughout the bag. I believe that this is because golfers do not trust the loft of the club to get the ball into the air. They have probably also had bad experiences hitting the ball thin. A lot of golfers lack the confidence about their swing speed to trust they can hit the ball with enough power. This is mostly a fallacy.

All you need to make a committed swing with enough swing speed to get the ball airborne. It's just science. In years past, golf clubs were hard to hit but with modern technology and new features, getting the ball in the air has never been easier. You can swing it with enough speed to get a modern five iron in the air. The backspin on the shot and the loft of the club combined with the grooves on the face will elevate the ball and give you a ball flight which should allow you to stop the ball on the green.

loft and bounce

How to make good contact with 5 iron

If you struggle to get your five iron in the air, go to the range and make some swings off a tee. You can tee it high to start. You can work the height of the tee down. Eventually, you want to be clipping the grass or taking a divot, hitting the ball before the ground. 

Swing hard not fast

Now there is a BIG different between hitting the ball hard and swinging fast. Some would argue that you can never have a swing speed which is too fast, but if you've ever seen a player whiff a shot after swinging out of their shoes, I'd argue that you can swing too fast.

What players confuse is speed and tempo. Have you ever seen a top professional hit the ball up close. It looks effortless, but they will be generating some serious swing speed and club head and ball speed. They are in control of their body and their swing and are able to hit the ball hard without making it look like they are. It's one of those secrets to get more distance with the longer irons.

Tiger Woods said "swing as hard as you can while guaranteeing a center strike on the clubface." I think too many golfers heard the "swing as hard as you can" bit and forgot about the perfect center strike part!

Tip #3: Pick a really small target to aim at

This is a concept I picked up from pro golfer Michelle Low in Malaysia. 

Your target must be as tiny as possible. The tip of the flag, the leaf on a tree or a window in a house in the distance. You must not be able to reach it of course - the target should be far enough away to create a magical game inside your mind. 

You hit to that impossible to reach target with a light heart because you know it's just a game. What you don't realize and I hope you will learn, is that by focusing on some impossible to reach target but trying anyway, you eliminate all the trouble in front of you. 

Michelle told me to focus intensely on the smallest thing possible like an individual leaf or branch or window of a distant building. This narrow focus shuts out background noise and allows you to concentrate on the target. If you are struggling with your 5 iron dispersion, try this and it will help unconsciously focus your mind. It means you're not thinking about golf swing positions and technical mumbo jumbo. Just pick a target, swing and allow the the golf ball to get in the way of your golf club.

There is so much potential for your 5 iron to be one of the most consistent clubs in your bag.

Tip #4: Improve your ball striking from different lies


I have made a few videos about this on my YouTube channel and I think it's one of the most important things amateur golfers can improve to slash their scores. Pro and better golfers can read the lie and make the adjustments to hit quality shots.  You might be able to hit a 5 iron from the matt at the driving range, but how many times have you come unstuck when faced with a fluffy lie with the ball below your feet?

Watch my YouTube video and be mindful of how the lie of the ball will affect the way your 5 iron will react. Then take this knowledge to the course or practice area and THINK before you hit your shot. It might be that the 5 iron isn't the right club for the lie you have or it could be that you must hit the 5 iron to punch the ball out from the trees.

Tip #5: Use your 5 iron from the tee

When things aren't going well with my driver or fairway wood, I will often pull the 5 iron to hit my tee shots with. The shorter shaft length and higher trajectory that the 5 iron creates pretty guarantees more accuracy but with less distance.

Depending on the weather conditions and ground conditions of the course you're playing, a 5 iron might actually be the perfect tee club. If it's really dry, you will get plenty of roll out from your long irons so your 185 yard carry turns into a monster 220 yard shot!

Hitting 5 iron from the tee build confidence. You're hitting off a tee peg and finding the fairway. You make better contact and learn how the ball will fly and this means that you can take these positive vibes with you when you next hit the 5 iron from the ground. 

Why do I hit my 5 6 and 7 irons the same distance?

This is such a common issue for amateur and recreational golfers. As irons get longer, players struggle to strike the golf ball with them consistently and end up losing distance. Here's why you might hit these three clubs a similar distance: 

  • You're scooping the ball in the air - I see so many players do this. They don't trust the loft of the club and try to "scoop" the ball into the air, hitting up with their irons. This generates lots of excess spin and kills distance. Try hitting down on the ball or moving it back in your stance. If in doubt, see a PGA pro for lessons! 
  • You don't generate enough swing speed - If you have a slow swing speed, you might not be able to get the ball airborne quick enough with the long irons. Consider using hybrids if this is the case as they are designed for this exact problem. 
  • You're playing the wrong type of clubs - Are you a high handicapper using muscleback blades? These clubs only really "work" when you strike them consistently out of the middle and compress the golf ball. Try some game improvement irons to see if this increases your distance with the long irons. 

Mizuno T22 Wedges Review

Reviewed by Kenton Liu

  • 4 handicapper
  • 118 MPH driver swing speed 
  • Kenton plays the 50/55/60 degree versions of these wedges

Review in short

The Mizuno T22 wedges are a premium forged wedge but at a very reasonable price point. Designed to perform in wet weather, these clubs are ideal for players who like to play golf in all conditions.  

Why I play these wedges

It’s a forged wedge, not cast which is very important for me. These wedges felt amazing when I tested them and allowed me to play all of the shots I need in the scoring zone. They perform great in wet conditions which is a must as I live in Vancouver. Another big bonus was that my shaft of choice came without an up-charge which save me a lot of cash over three wedges. 

mizuno t22 wedges -

Looks and feel 

The T22s have a compact size with a bevelled top edge so the head appears thinner at address which I really like as it blends nicely with my irons. 

There’s also a tapered blade design which positions extra mass higher in the blade to deliver more spin consistency, as well as a penetrating flight irrespective of where shots impact the face.

In terms of  feedback, like the current MP-20 irons, each head (apart from the raw finish option which rusts over time) comes with a microlayer of copper under the satin chrome or denim copper finish. This is really noticeable on slight mishits, which is great for me as I want to know where I'm hitting the ball on the club face. 

Performance

What caught my eye about these wedges was their advertised performance in wetter conditions. As I mentioned, I live in Vancouver, Canada where we get a lot of rain all year round. Water on the club face reduces spin, so I wanted a set of wedge which would give me consistent performance in all weather conditions. As a lower handicap player, I need to know that my wedge shots are going to fly a specific distance, even in the rain, and these Mizuno wedges are precision tools, even when the weather is bad. 

They come in 4 grind options which are;

S Grind: Minimal sole shaping for fuller shots and lower lofts

D Grind: Moderate heel and toe relief, allows gentle manipulation of the face

C Grind: Heavy heel and toe relief for more skilled players and firmer conditions

X Grind: Extreme heel and toe relief for real short game maestros

The T22 benefits from a new modified Teardrop shape with extensive bevelling on the topline for the appearance of a thinner top edge, allowing for greater control and versatility. The spin weighted design features flaring or tapering of the upper portion of the blade for a more focused CG location, delivering a more penetrating ball flight. Mizuno have utilised their tour-proven HydroFlow Micro Grooves which are laser etched into the face to disperse moisture from the impact zone at impact, giving extra control in wet conditions, while the Quad Cut milled design ensures a longer effective life span.

Pros

  • Great feel
  • Extreme performance in wet weather conditions 
  • Much cheaper than other premium wedge brands

Cons

  • Rounded leading edge isn't great to look at 
  • The back of the club is a little busy on the eye
  • Launch is a little high

Cleveland Launcher UHX Irons Review

Reviewed by Colin Steele

  • 21 handicapper
  • 95 MPH driver swing speed 
  • Colin upgraded from ping G series, old battered and missing weights

Review in short

Blended iron sets are becoming more popular in the game and these Cleveland Launcher UHX irons fill this space for mid-high handicapper perfectly. Hollow bodied long irons and cavity back mid irons provide an ideal combination of forgiveness and distance. With Cleveland you know that you're getting the best quality materials out at a great price, so why not give these a try? 

Why I play these irons 

I was looking for an easy launching set of irons at an affordable price. I don't want flashy clubs, I want clubs that are easy to hit and the Cleveland Launcher UHX irons tick all of the boxes for me. They are a combo set which gives me the best of both worlds, hollow bodied long irons and cavity backs in the mid to low clubs. This works perfectly for me. 

Looks

I really like the finish on these clubs. They just look classy and there's no hint of glare, even in the brightest sunshine. As these are a blended set, you'd expect there to be some different in the look of the 5 iron and the pitching wedge, but it's barely noticeable down by the ball. They have a compact look to them, but reading the specs, I was surprised to see that they are actually bigger than most irons out there. 

Having the loft stamped on the sole of the club is something that Cleveland have done for a long time but it was new to me. I really like the bold red numbers for the lofts which contrasts nicely with the bigger club number stamped in black.

Being game improvement clubs, the top-lines are actually really modest. It looks like Cleveland have added mass to the back of the clubs to make the top line thinner which is a bonus for me as I'm not really looks focused. 

Cleveland Launcher UHX Utility

Sound and feel

With the hollow body 5 and 7 irons, the sound is a deeper "thwack" than the rest of the set.  All of the clubs feel soft except the wedge which has a lot more feedback. You would expect this from Cleveland who are famous for their wedges.  On mid range shots and bump and runs, you don't get the feel you would from a blade, but hey, we're not pros! 

Performance

I gained around 5-10 yards with every club. Yes the lofts are stronger than my previous set, but I haven't seen a trade off in terms of accuracy. My dispersion has definitely improved. 

The Launcher UHX long irons feature an HT1770M steel face, a steel that’s rated ‘high strength.’ That makes it resilient enough for a variable thickness pattern. This pattern is thinner on the toe and perimeter but thickest near the heel, which makes the club faster across the face and longer on every shot.

Pros

  • Confidence inspiring looks
  • Blended set for maximum forgiveness and distance
  • Lofts stamped on the bottom of every club 
  • They just make golf easier 

Cons

  • Some irons look a little toed in for my eye
  • Grips aren't big enough for me

Tech specs

Iron

Loft  

Lie

Length

4

20°

61.5°

38.875"

5

23°

62°

38.25"

6

26°

62.5°

37.625"

7

30°

63°

37"

8

34°

63.5°

36.5"

9

39°

64°

36"

PW

44°

64.5°

35.75"

GW

49°

65°

35.5"

Shaft options

  • Dynamic Gold DST 98 (Steel)
  • Miyazaki C Kua 60 (Graphite)

Price for the set

$914  4-AW (steel)

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