Five Fundamentals Of Iron Play

Improve your scoring by refreshing yourself with the must-know components of the iron swing

Line Em Up Line 'Em Up
To check and make sure you’re swinging on plane and cocking your wrists at the correct time, lay a club along your feet (as shown). As you execute the first part of the takeaway, your hands should trace the line created by the clubshaft on the ground. Keep in mind that the club in your hands should not reach its parallel-to-the-ground state until the hands reach hip high. If your wrists break early, forcing the shaft to reach parallel before your hands reach your hips, you’ll be in danger of creating a too-steep takeaway. Also, the wrists should break without the clubhead moving in front or behind the clubshaft on the ground. Practice a few takeaways until you reach this position without thinking about it.

A straight left arm is ideal at the top of THE backswing, Although a slight bend also is acceptable, especially if you tend to cast the club or are unable to turn fully.

If you have a mirror, check your clubhead position and make sure it isn’t above your head or drifting too far away from your body. The proper position with every iron should be directly over your rear shoulder at the top of your backswing.

Weighty Issues

During the backswing, your goal should be to shift your weight to your rear foot, as opposed to hanging over the front (reverse pivot). The key is to remember that a proper weight shift is the result of a full turn, not a slide. So turn, turn, turn until your weight moves to the back foot and keep your hands away from your body.

Backswing Once you’ve begun your backswing with the correct takeaway, the next crucial element to be wary of is where you stand at the top of your backswing. It’s all downhill from here, making it all the more important that you’re in the right place to avoid a series of bad chain reactions during the downswing.

As you can see at the top of my backswing, my upper body has turned away from the target and most of my weight has transferred to my rear foot. My head and left shoulder are also both behind the ball relative to the target, further proving that my weight has moved back and I’m ready to release through the downswing transition. Lastly, look at my clubface. See how it’s facing you? That’s where it should be. From this position, I’m ready to start turning toward the target, allowing my hands to drop underneath my head as I begin naturally shifting my weight toward my forward foot. This chain reaction is how I unwind the stored energy I created during the backswing sequence of events.

Downswing Bad Move It Over
If you struggle with a wild front knee (left), and many golfers do, consider this simple tip. With either a broom handle-sized stick or a golf shaft, address a ball as you normally do, but with the stick inserted into the ground along the outside of your forward leg. Now, take the club back as usual and pause at the top of your backswing. As you initiate the downswing, do so in slow motion and concentrate on not allowing your forward knee to protrude beyond the stick. Continue making slow downswings until you feel comfortable making a downswing without jutting your knee forward. This will help you get a feel for what it means to turn toward the target as opposed to sliding toward the target on the downswing. In time, this drill will make you a much more consistent player, and maybe help with some added distance as well.

Head behind the ball, hips open and the forward arm, leg and shaft stacked over the golf ball—this is where you want to be at impact.

Alas, the moment of truth. Pending all the right chain reactions, where you are at impact dictates what kind of shot you’re going to hit.


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