Five Fundamentals Of Iron Play

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

Impact Good Great golfers know that the key to solid ballstriking is to achieve what’s called the “stacked” position at impact. This position requires a full release of the wrists and a straight line drawn over the forward leg, left arm and the club as if all these elements are stacked over one another. Most of my weight has already transferred to the forward foot at this point, and because of my solid left side and the momentum created by my body and arms, my wrists have no choice but to unhinge directly over the golf ball. A common misconception among amateur players is that the impact position should resemble the setup position at address. After all, everything is lined up perfectly at address, so the impact position should be the same, right? Wrong. As you can see by the correct impact position shown, my hips are open, my weight has transferred to my forward foot, and my rear shoulder is considerably lower than my forward shoulder. This is a very different pose from the static, balanced position at address.

Descending Blows
Unlike the driver, your irons should never approach the ball on an ascending arc. Most irons require a descending blow, which means the lowest part of the swing arc is reached after you make contact with the golf ball. If you tend to catch the ball fat or thin, consider cocking your wrists sooner on the backswing to steepen your arc immediately and help you obtain that crisp contact we all want, especially with the shorter irons. With longer irons, allow for a slower wrist cock. This will widen your swing and provide you with the flatter arc that’s needed for longer iron shots.

Impact Bad Release
Notice the difference in the two photos to the right? Everything is the same except for the release of the hands. The photo to the immediate right shows too much hand release and wrist breakdown, while the one above is evidence of a more stacked position at impact.

Finish Finish
The finish should be the most comfortable position in the entire swing. see it before you swing and hold it until the ball stops moving.

Just because you’ve made contact doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods yet. The finish position is actually an important ingredient to a great iron swing, as it can tell you a lot about what’s going on during your motion. The correct finish ends with the body weight primarily on the front foot, the club behind you, and your head, chest and belt buckle facing the target. You should be balanced and able to hold this position indefinitely. From a solid finish position, you can determine two things: 1) The majority of your body weight has successfully shifted to your forward leg; and 2) your body has fully rotated without excessive sliding through the downswing, which can produce the gamut of poor shots.
Balance 101
Here’s one of our all-time favorite tips: Hit an iron shot and purposely hold your finish. Then, retrace your swing in reverse, all the way through the downswing, to the top position, the takeaway and back to the address position. Even in reverse, the sequence should lead to a steady address position. If there’s a flaw in the process, it’s easy to see if you try this technique. Once you’ve worked these five fundamentals into your iron play arsenal, forget them and concentrate on shooting lower scores! You should have ingrained them into your swing, allowing you the opportunity to concentrate on the shot at hand and not the fundamentals you already know. Mahalo!


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