How to Use a 7 Iron

Selecting the 7-Iron

    This club is appropriate for "laying up" near the green, putting the ball in good fairway position with the second shot on a par-4 hole or the third shot on a long par-5 hole. The 7-iron also can be used instead of the 8- or 9-iron for longer "bump-and-run" shots on hard, dry courses with few hazards.

Addressing the Ball

    When you set up for the 7-iron shot, your hands should be ahead of the ball with the shaft leaning forward upon address. Play the ball further back in your stance than you would with a driver, since you are striking the ball right before your swing reaches its lowest point -- and not just beyond the lowest point, as you would with the driver.

Accuracy Over Distance

    The 7-iron has 3 to 4 degrees more loft than the 6-iron and 6 to 8 degrees more loft than the 5-iron. This the added loft creates a greater hitting surface but subtracts distance. For many golfers, the 7-iron delivers 10 to 20 fewer distance yards than the 6-iron and 20 to 40 fewer distance yards than the 5-iron.

The 7-Iron Swing

    Since this club is often used for placement instead of great distance, many 7-iron shots call for a shorter backswing, three-quarters swing velocity and an abbreviated follow-through. Less experienced golfers trying to measure these shots tend to scoop their 7-iron shots by hitting under the ball, as they would with a wedge lob shot. Instead, you should strike the ball as you would with the other mid-irons -- with a slight descending blow near the bottom of your swing. This striking angle adds backspin and natural lift to your shot.

Rhythm Over Power

    In a story for Golf Digest, Faldo recalled a valuable 7-iron practice routine he received from an early teacher. "He had me hit six 7-iron shots as hard as I could. He then had me hit six 7-iron shots so easily they flew only 100 yards," Faldo said. "He then asked me to increase the distance in 10-yard increments, six swings for each. Before I knew it, I was hitting the 7-iron the original maximum-swing distance, but with hardly any effort. It proved that good rhythm, not sheer power, is what makes the ball go long -- and straight."

About the Author

Jeff Gordon has been reporting and writing since 1977. His most recent work has appeared on websites such as eHow, GolfLink, Ask Men, Open Sports, Fox Sports and MSN. He has previously written for publications such as "The Sporting News" and "The Hockey News." He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in 1979 with a bachelor's degree.