Are you looking for ways to shave off a few strokes from your golf game? Improving your accuracy with an 8 iron can make all the difference in lowering your handicap.
Whether you’re new to playing golf or already an experienced golfer, understanding how to properly hit an 8 iron is essential if you want more reliable and consistent performance on the course.
Read on as we explore the fundamentals of hitting an 8 iron and uncover some helpful tips that all golfers should know when tackling those tricky mid-range shots.
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Why is your 8-iron important?
Using your 8-iron can improve your game in multiple aspects. First off, your 8-iron is designed to go a certain distance. Just like almost every other club in your bag, it serves a unique purpose that none of your other clubs will.
Another reason your 8-iron is important is that you could use it for a bump-and-run shot. This is very useful around the greens, especially if you are not very confident with your wedges.
A bump-and-run is a great hybrid between putting from off the green and chipping, and your 8-iron is a great club to use for this shot.
What you should do when hitting your 8-iron
Hit down on the golf ball
Hitting down on the golf ball is very important for just about every club. Golf clubs are designed with enough loft to launch the ball high in the air when compressed, so this is why it’s important to hit down.
This means that contact with the golf ball will not be the bottom of your swing. Instead, the bottom of your swing will come just after impact while you are taking a divot.
A professional lesson can be very beneficial for fixing this, but making the time to attend one can be difficult, never mind the cost of one.
A few tips I would recommend to help hit down on the ball would be to keep the club behind you throughout your swing, as well as flexing your wrist to deloft the club.
Put your weight forward
Making sure that you are putting your weight forward in the swing will help set you up for success. If you are failing to transition your weight forward, you’ll likely end up thinning or fatting your shot.
Every golfer knows how frustrating this can be, and avoiding it can shave some strokes off your game. If you’re struggling to get your weight forward, try using these tips.
Firstly, you should take a few practice swings and feel your weight going to the inside of your back foot in the backswing. At the start of your downswing, make sure to feel your weight shift back to the outside of your front foot.
Almost all of your weight should be on the front foot at the end of the swing, so you should be able to lift your back foot off the ground while maintaining your balance in your follow-through.
Line the ball up in the middle of your stance
Making sure the ball position in your stance is correct will lead to flushed shots. If you have the ball too far back, it will lead to lower-launching shots, which will cause you to lose some distance.
If the ball is too far forward in your stance you will likely make contact with the ground before the ball, and sometimes this causes you to outright whiff.
Keeping this in mind, placing the ball in the middle of your stance when using an 8-iron will help you make correct contact. When you’re on the range getting some practice in, try this:
First, lay down an alignment stick facing the golf ball. Now, set yourself up with a stance that is shoulder-width apart. As you do this, position yourself over the alignment stick so that it is directly in the middle of your feet.
Finally, grab a golf ball and line it up with the alignment stick. Go ahead and take a swing, then repeat until you feel you can properly judge the ball position.
How to hit a bump-and-run
Using an 8-iron around the green will result in a bump-and-run shot. To hit a shot like this, you want to set up similar to a putt. You’ll want to grip down on the 8-iron so that you have more control.
Next, you want to swing similarly to a putt, but you want to make sure to keep your weight forward for this shot too. Maintain a slow and smooth backswing, then hit through the golf ball.
This causes you to “bump” the golf ball, and it will take a few bounces before it “runs” along the green towards the hole.
A bump-and-run is a great option if you are on the fringe or just off it. It gets the ball over the rough grass onto the smooth green, and then it will roll toward the hole like a putt.
What you shouldn't do when hitting your 8-iron
Don't lean back
Leaning back in your swing leads to issues whenever trying to hit an iron. When using your 8-iron you need to hit down on the ball, and leaning back causes an upward angle of attack. This leads to hitting up on the ball, which will result in poor shots.
Make sure to utilize the tips above to get that lead shoulder down and into the golf, resulting in a downward attack angle that will launch the ball and get you the distance you’re seeking.
Don't swing too hard
Swinging hard is something we all fall victim to at some point when we play golf, but it has only negative effects. Swinging too fast for yourself with an 8-iron will lead to very inconsistent performance.
It’s so important to find a tempo that’s right for you and suits your style of play. Otherwise, you’ll continue to struggle with mishits.
As you get more comfortable, you can try to increase your swing speed, but make sure you can control your swing and keep a constant tempo.
What is the loft of an 8-iron?
The loft of an 8-iron is typically between 37-39 degrees but can reach into the low 30s in game improvement sets. Game improvement iron sets have stronger lofts to help average golfers gain some extra distance, and that’s why the loft can be so much lower.
However, your traditional iron sets will include an 8-iron that could have 37-39 degrees of loft.
What should my 8-iron distance be?
Your 8-iron distance can vary greatly when compared to other players for a range of reasons. However, the distance you hit your 8-iron can fall anywhere between ~125-165 yards.
First off, your distance can depend on your skill and experience. Lower handicaps have a more consistent swing with better fundamentals, and this allows them to generate impressive speed and launch. They will usually be on the higher end of the distance, which is around 160 yards.
Less-skilled golfers will be at the lower end of the spectrum, with distances usually falling between 120-140 yards with an 8-iron. However, as you build up your swing you can start to find a little more distance.
Your swing speed can also affect how far you can hit the ball. Higher swing speeds will have greater distance than lower swing speed players. Again, advanced players tend to have a higher swing speed than your average golfer, so they typically have better distance.
The loft of your 8-iron will play a crucial role as well. If you have a higher lofted 8-iron it may be harder to hit the ball as far as someone who has a strong lofted iron.
Finally, your age could also play a role in your distance. Younger golfers tend to be able to hit the ball farther than senior golfers, and this is due to your swing speed decreasing as you get older.
Increasing your distance has plenty of advantages, but this is not something to worry about. Gaining distance on your shots will come naturally as you improve your ball strike and produce consistent swings.
Wrapping it up
Your 8-iron can not only help you from 125-160 yards, but also from around the green. Using an 8-iron bump-and-run will help you become more accurate from the fringe and remove a few strokes from duffed chips.
However, mastering your 8-iron from a full swing distance will help you find more greens from a farther range. By making sure to hit down on the golf ball and shift your weight forward, you’ll be able to gain accuracy like never before.
As with every club, remember to keep the club close to your body and avoid leaning back and swinging too hard. This will help you find the contact you need to get a high launch and watch the ball fly farther than before.
If you have any more questions feel free to reach out to me and ask or leave a comment! I’m always open to helping a fellow golfer shave off some strokes, as well as suggestions for what else I should include or write about.
Thanks for reading and I hope this article gave you some tips to help you flush your 8-iron!
What is an 8-iron good for?
An 8-iron is great for shots around 140-160 yards. As long as you have the appropriate speed, the loft of the club will launch the ball and help it fly this distance.
The 8-iron is also a great club for a bump-and-run around the green. Instead of taking out your wedge and playing a risky chip from the fringe, the 8-iron allows you to hit the ball similar to a putter and eliminates the risk of thinning the ball.
How long should you hit an 8-iron?
It is very common for golfers to hit their 8-iron anywhere between 125-160 yards. Players with slower swing speeds and less skill will have shorter distance than lower handicaps with faster speeds.
What is a good swing speed for an 8-iron?
A great target swing speed with an 8-iron would be ~90 mph. This speed will help you get the proper compression and launch required to create fast ball speeds and add distance to your shots.
Where should an 8-iron be in your stance?
An 8-iron should be in the middle of your stance. This allows you to make solid contact with the ball that sets up a beautiful launch.
How far can an 8-iron hit?
An 8-iron can hit up to ~160 yards for advanced players, however, this can vary greatly depending on many factors.