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How to Pick the Best Golf Driving Iron for You

Have you ever gone through spells of playing golf where, no matter what you do, you can’t hit a fairway with the driver off the tee? It’s a horrible place...

Have you ever gone through spells of playing golf where, no matter what you do, you can’t hit a fairway with the driver off the tee?

It’s a horrible place to be in, as we stand on the tee looking at the hole ahead with a sense of claustrophobia, where the fairway feels five yards wide and lined by all sorts of nasty trouble and the sickening feeling of another score ruined.

If you want to keep the driver in the bag, what is your “go-to” golf club when you absolutely must hit a fairway?

You can use one of your fairway woods, but if you don’t hit them regularly, you may struggle for consistency and not feel completely confident. A safe option many golfers employ for this problem is the golf driving iron.

Driving irons, which sit between fairway woods and hybrids, have become more popular in recent years. Leading manufacturers such as Titleist, Cobra, PXG, and Mizuno have introduced specialised driving irons for golfers to consider.

If you have been intrigued about the idea of purchasing a driving iron, our guide will help you:

  • What Is A Driving Iron?
  • What Types Of Golfers Can Benefit From Driving Irons
  • The Technology Behind Golf Driving Irons
  • The Benefits Of Having Your Driving Iron Custom-Fitted

What Is A Driving Iron?

Professionals always like to have an arsenal of golf clubs they can use as they travel around the world competing. When playing on lush parkland-style courses with little exposure to the elements, professionals will utilise a lofted fairway wood or hybrid because of the additional height these clubs provide.

However, pros will switch their lofted fairways or hybrids for a driving iron when playing majors like the U.S. Open or Open Championship, which are characterised by deep rough, unforgiving fairway bunkers, and more exposure to the elements.

The golf driving iron will give pros the versatility to work the ball more effectively, allowing for a greater variety of shot shapes and trajectories. Fans love watching pros hit Tiger-like “stinger” tee shots, which are easily accomplished with driving irons.

Golf driving irons will also travel equivalent distances to lofted golf fairway woods and golf hybrids, so distance is not sacrificed when making the switch.

An additional benefit for some players is that some driving irons have been designed to blend in effectively with existing iron sets, giving a level of continuity throughout the golf bag.

What Types Of Golfers Can Benefit From Driving Irons?

You might think that everything you’ve read so far means that driving irons are only suited to the best players in the game. But, as with most things relating to golf equipment, driving irons can be used by a wide selection of golfers. The key factors that make golf driving irons a worthy consideration are the amount of clubhead speed you generate and the spin numbers produced, which can easily be ascertained from a custom fitting session.


Mizuno Pro Fli-Hi Golf Utility Iron

The Technology Behind Golf Driving Irons

The one attribute that all golf driving irons share is their hollow body construction. The chassis of the iron is made from lightweight but durable steel, such as the 1020 carbon steel used in the Srixon driving iron, the ZX MK II, which also acts to dampen vibration at impact, creating a softer feel.

Manufacturers like Cobra have utilised lightweight foam materials in their within the hollow created behind the face of a driving iron. The hollow area behind the face has also allowed Cobra to add its PWRSHELL technology, seen in the Darkspeed range, which helps to optimise launch.

Still focusing on the hollow area behind the face, manufacturers can also optimise the centre of gravity, making driving irons easier to launch and providing an element of forgiveness on less-than-perfect strikes. To achieve this, the material of choice is tungsten, as seen in models such as the Titleist driving iron-T-200 Utility Build and the Cobra King Tec Utility iron.


Titleist T-200 Golf Utility Iron


Manufacturers will use face technology to create responsiveness and power from the design of the face. Cobra uses AI to generate the H.O.T Face in the King Tec Utility iron, which helps deliver and maintain high ball speeds across the face. Mizuno has adopted variable face thickness in its Nickel Chromoly 4335+ face to keep ball speeds consistent.

PXG’s solution for its 0317X driving iron is creating an ultra-thin face to generate higher ball speeds and married the thinner face to its XCOR2 technology, which takes weight away from the core and places it low and around the perimeter to increase launch angles.

Manufacturers have also spent time perfecting the sole design of their driving irons to help players who would consider using them off the deck. Titleist employed the engineers at Vokey to help create the leading edge on their T-Series U505 driving iron.

A common issue with hollow-body multi-material construction irons is the sound at impact, which some players find a bit off-putting.

Manufacturers have tackled this problem. Mizuno has included “Harmonic Impact Technology”, and Titleist has added “Max Impact Technology” to enhance the feel and help create higher ball speeds.

Callaway has created Dynamic Sole Design, working on the leading edge to ensure better turf interaction and the trailing edge to ensure the sole does not snag on the exit.

Common features shared across driving irons are a thicker top line and a wider sole, which can be seen at address along with the back of the iron. Most driving irons don’t feature a lot of offset, which can make them appealing to the better player, who will probably play with irons with little offset.


Titleist U505 Golf Utility Iron

The Benefits Of Having Your Driving Iron Custom-Fitted

If you are considering adding a golf driving iron to your bag, analyse your game and the types of courses you play most frequently. If you struggle with the golf driver, what club do you usually use off the tee, and what shortcomings are there for not hitting your driver?

Secondly, do you play many links-style golf courses that are exposed to the elements and can be really fast and bumpy in the summertime, or are you playing more parkland-style courses that are a little more sheltered from the elements and require the ball to be played through the air more?

You can also think about the flexibility you need from a driving iron. Driving irons are mainly used off the tee but can be played off the deck, which is fine if you are on the fairway, but if you face long approach shots from the rough, you may get more out of a hybrid or lofted fairway wood.

When you come for a custom fitting, we will also want to see if adding a driving iron could plug a distance gap. Many golfers have inconsistent distance gaps from the three-wood to the longest iron in their bags.

This can lead to many compromised shots, where golfers hit the shorter club too hard or ease off on the longer club, leading to inconsistent strikes and poor accuracy.

Creating consistent distance gaps between your clubs will ensure you don’t have to compromise on club selection.

Capturing data via the GC Quad launch monitor will help us understand your clubhead speed and the spin you impart on the ball, helping us narrow down the best driving iron to choose.

If you have an golf iron fitting session, we can also consider blending the driving iron with your existing or new irons. For many golfers, creating a consistent look and feel throughout their irons is really important and can help inspire more confidence.

Manufacturers also realise the importance of shared looks between driving irons and iron sets, with Cobra, PXG, Callaway, and Srixon making their driving irons look nearly identical to their iron ranges.

We can also identify the right golf shaft for your driving iron through custom fitting. Fitting the right shaft can add more distance, but it also helps create the correct launch and spin conditions and tighten shot dispersion.

Premium manufacturers such as Graphite Design and Mitsubishi Chemicals have created shafts specifically for driving irons, and we expect more manufacturers to follow as the golf driving iron segment grows.

Driving irons can offer a valuable, safe option off the tee when you must hit the fairway. The modern driving iron has little resemblance to the one and two irons previously used for hitting fairways.

Multi-material and hollow body designs ensure that driving irons offer more forgiveness and get the ball launching and spinning more effectively.

If you are interested in exploring the idea of adding a golf driving iron to your bag, book yourself in for a fitting session here at Nine By Nine Golf, where you can experience working with one of our highly experienced fitters in building the ideal driving iron for your game.

You can also see our full range of driving irons on the Nine By Nine Golf website and explore the full range of customisable options, such as loft, shaft, and grip selection, before placing your order. If you have any special requirements, please use the comments section when you place your order.

Please get in touch with us if you have any other questions about driving irons or golf club custom fittings. We’ll be happy to help.

Nine by Nine Golf Golf Club Custom Fittings
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