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For Beginner in Golf: Which Is Better, Irons or Woods?

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When starting out in golf, one of the most common questions beginners ask is, “Which is better, irons or woods?” Understanding the differences between these clubs and how they can affect your game is crucial for making an informed decision. This guide will help you determine whether irons or woods are better for beginners, discussing the pros and cons of each, and providing tips for choosing the right clubs for your game.

Understanding Irons and Woods

Before diving into which type of club is better for beginners, it’s important to understand the fundamental differences between irons and woods.


Irons are typically used for mid-to-short range shots and are numbered based on the loft angle of the clubface. Lower-numbered irons (like 3-iron and 4-iron) have less loft and are used for longer shots, while higher-numbered irons (like 7-iron and 9-iron) have more loft and are used for shorter, more precise shots. Irons are usually made with a solid metal clubhead.


Woods are designed for long-distance shots, with a larger clubhead and longer shaft compared to irons. They are typically used for tee shots and long fairway shots. The driver (or 1-wood) has the least loft and is used for the longest shots, while fairway woods (like 3-wood and 5-wood) have more loft and are used for long shots from the fairway.

Pros and Cons of Irons for Beginners


  1. Accuracy and Control: Irons offer better accuracy and control, making them ideal for approach shots and precise hits.
  2. Versatility: Irons can be used in a variety of situations, including fairway shots, rough shots, and even around the green.
  3. Forgiveness: Modern irons, especially cavity-back irons, are designed to be more forgiving, helping beginners achieve better results even on off-center hits.


  1. Difficulty with Long Irons: Long irons (like 3-iron and 4-iron) can be challenging for beginners to hit consistently due to their lower loft and smaller clubface.
  2. Higher Skill Requirement: Mastering the use of irons, especially for longer shots, can require more practice and skill development.

Pros and Cons of Woods for Beginners


  1. Distance: Woods, particularly the driver, are designed for maximum distance, making them ideal for tee shots and long fairway shots.
  2. Larger Clubhead: The larger clubhead of woods provides a bigger sweet spot, which can be more forgiving on off-center hits.
  3. Easier Launch: Woods generally have a lower center of gravity, making it easier to get the ball airborne, especially for beginners with slower swing speeds.


  1. Less Control: Woods can be harder to control and less accurate compared to irons, particularly on shorter shots.
  2. Limited Use: Woods are primarily used for long shots, making them less versatile than irons for different types of shots.

Which Is Better for Beginners: Irons or Woods?

Deciding whether irons or woods are better for beginners depends on various factors, including your skill level, swing speed, and the specific aspects of your game you want to improve. Here’s a closer look at how to make the best choice:

Swing Speed

  • Slower Swing Speed: Beginners with slower swing speeds may benefit more from using woods, as they are easier to launch and provide better distance.
  • Faster Swing Speed: Those with faster swing speeds may find irons more beneficial for control and accuracy, especially on approach shots.

Skill Level

  • Complete Beginners: Complete beginners might find woods more forgiving and easier to use for longer shots, helping build confidence early on.
  • Intermediate Beginners: As you progress, incorporating irons into your game can help improve accuracy and versatility, particularly for approach shots and short game.

Practice and Training

  • Practice Sessions: Spend time practicing with both irons and woods to understand which clubs you feel more comfortable with and which provide better results.
  • Lessons: Taking lessons from a golf instructor can provide personalized feedback and help you determine whether irons or woods are better suited to your game.

Choosing the Right Clubs for Your Golf Bag

For beginners, having a balanced set of clubs that includes both irons and woods can provide the best of both worlds. Here’s a suggested setup for your golf bag:


A driver (1-wood) is essential for long tee shots. Look for a driver with a larger clubhead and more loft (10.5 to 12 degrees) for easier launch and better distance.

Fairway Woods

Include a 3-wood and/or 5-wood in your bag for long fairway shots. These clubs provide good distance and are easier to hit than long irons.


Hybrids are an excellent alternative to long irons. They are easier to hit and provide better forgiveness and versatility. Consider including a 3-hybrid and/or 4-hybrid in your bag.


Start with a set of cavity-back irons (5-iron to 9-iron). These irons are designed to be more forgiving and easier to hit, making them ideal for beginners.


Include a pitching wedge (PW) and a sand wedge (SW) in your bag for short game shots around the green. These clubs are essential for approach shots and bunker play.


A putter is essential for nearly every hole. Choose a putter that feels comfortable and inspires confidence. Mallet putters offer more forgiveness, while blade putters provide more control.

Tips for Beginners on the Course

Having the right clubs in your bag is just the first step. Here are some additional tips to help beginners on the course:

Know the Rules

Familiarize yourself with the basic rules of golf. Understanding the rules will help you play more confidently and enjoy the game.

Pace of Play

Maintain a good pace of play by being ready to hit your shot when it’s your turn. Keep up with the group ahead of you and be mindful of the players behind you.

Respect the Course

Take care of the course by repairing divots, raking bunkers, and following cart path rules. Respecting the course helps maintain its condition for all players.

Stay Positive

Golf can be challenging, and it’s normal to have good and bad days. Stay positive, focus on enjoying the game, and learn from each round.


For beginners in golf, deciding between irons and woods depends on various factors, including swing speed, skill level, and specific needs on the course. While woods can provide better distance and forgiveness for long shots, irons offer more accuracy and control for approach shots and the short game. Ultimately, a balanced set of clubs that includes both irons and woods is ideal for beginners. By understanding the pros and cons of each type of club and practicing regularly, you can make an informed decision and enjoy your golfing journey. Happy golfing!

If you enjoyed this post, we’re sure you’ll also find our other articles interesting. Check out our detailed guide on irons for beginners and discover everything you need to know about it.

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