This is a question that many a golfer contemplate from beginners to professionals. Common sense may dictate that it's best to practice with all of your clubs evenly to become a well rounded golfer. And to be honest, there is some validity to this. The only problem is the AMOUNT of swings you have to take in order to practice effectively with each club. In any given bag we have a Driver, Fairway Woods, Irons(5,6,7,8,9) Wedges(PW, SW) and finally the putter. We are looking at between 10-14 clubs. If we took just 10 swings thats well over 100 swings in a session. That sounds exhausting and makes us wonder. What club is best to practice with for a 20-50 swing practice session?. I believe the 5 iron is the ideal club to practice with for its length, versatility and power.
The 5 iron's size rests comfortably in the middle of all your clubs. Drivers are long, Wedges are short and putters don't really matter when you're trying to smash golf balls. Getting a feel for different length clubs is crucial to improving the golf game. If you subscribe to the teaching of Ben Hogan then you should be practicing mostly with your 5 iron. Ben was a huge advocate of learning to swing the 5 iron and then that would translate into every other club in your bag. He once played an entire round of golf with only his 5 iron and won, claiming it to be the most versatile club in his bag!
Aside from the putter, the irons are the most used clubs during a round. It can be used for tee shots, fairway shots and in difficult rough. In 18 holes you may only use your Driver for 9-12 swings. Irons you are likely to use 25-40 swings. Big difference. Given that your irons are used for most of your shots it makes sense to practice with them more often. Confidence with irons is crucial to crafting your approach shots and scoring low in rounds. If you can learn to swing a 5 iron well then the lower irons and Driver will develop naturally.
The 5 iron is really the perfect club to practice with in my opinion. If you only have the time for a few swings a day, spend them on your 5 iron. It will work to improve your swing with other clubs and you wont get fatigued trying to practice with every club in your bag. You will find that your drives will be straighter and longer and you will strike the ball better with your short clubs. Next time you head to the driving range, leave your bag at home and just take your 5 iron. Or better yet, practice with your irons at home with Ropeit (shameful plug). Best of luck and happy golfing!