How long do I need to be to start scoring/improve?
I'm a 20 handicap. I mostly just play with my friends on weekends and have a few beers, but we've been doing more golf trips recently, and I'd like to get better. My number one goal to enjoy golf more is just to stop flubbing (topping and chunking) my irons. I played a round last weekend in which I didn't flub a single ball. I wasn't driving the ball very well, but my iron game was much better than usual. I shot a 99, which is more or less usual for me. I've really been working hard on my iron game. I go to the range two or three times a week and hit 80-160 balls each time only working on irons. At the range, I can generally get my path in out, and my contact is pretty good. On the course, pressure often gets to me and I still swing too hard, which means I fall into my old habits getting steep and over the top.
So my question is about length. If I practice the driver some, or even just play more, I know I can swing easy and put the ball out about 220-240 in play pretty consistently, which isn't impressive, but seems fine. After that, I'm not sure I have enough length. Right now, my longest club I hit well is my 5i. I carry a 3 and 4 hybrid, but when I get steep I don't make good contact so I usually play it safe with the 5i. I hit the 5i about 170-190. At the range, I roll it up to a 200 yard flag. On the course, my gps watch says I get about 180 total out of it.
This weekend we finished up on a par-5 18th hole. I skyed my driver to only about 150. Then I hit my 5i, I pulled/hooked it a little, but I still got about 180 out of it. I had something like 220 left. So I couldn't really go for it with my 190 club, plus there were bunkers and other trouble. I hit an easy 9i with a nice draw about 130 into the middle of the fairway, and then about a 75 yard lob wedge right onto the green about 10 feet or so from the pin. It worked out, so in retrospect, it sure feels like I played that hole well, but if I had a longer club, I could have hit my second shot closer, or gone for it will my third.
I do hit my 18 degree hybrid on occasion, but it's just no where near as reliable as my 5i, and I only get about 20 more yards out of it best case scenario. I carry a 3w and a 5w, but I literally can't remember the last time I hit either. Sometimes I can get the hybrids working at the range, but I've never experienced anything close to consistency with the woods.
So in the short term, I plan to continue to work on my iron game. I could really get used to not flubbing shots. But to improve my score, do you think I need to figure out something longer than 180? Should I work on my hybrids, or maybe try out a utility iron? I know there are plenty of other ways to drop my score. Putting for instance. Is 180 enough to break 90?