Iron Out The Kinks

Better iron play is a matter of making a few quick fixes

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Target Line

Target Line

Target Line
START FROM THE GROUND...UP
If you situate your feet left of parallel to the target line, you'll be more likely to make a restricted backswing, but with a more thorough rotation through the golf ball and into the finish.

With the feet positioned right of parallel to the target line, the body will make a greater turn on the backswing, but will end with a more abbreviated finish.


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MIND YOUR GRIP AND BALL POSITION
How you grip the club is critical. In fact, I'd go so far to say that there has never been a great player in the game of golf who didn't have a solid grip. As Homer Kelly wrote in The Golfing Machine, the grip has several pressure points in order to unify the hands into one cohesive entity. The first pressure point is in the last three fingers of the left hand. Keeping pressure contact here is key for a smooth and controlled backstroke. The second pressure point is where the right hand presses against the thumb of the left hand (reverse for southpaws). This helps maintain a solid extension through the swing. Finally, the way the lower hand (your right hand) grips the club also is important.

Often called a "trigger finger," the index finger of the right hand has some separation from the rest of the grip. This serves to pull up on the shaft and direct the force of the club back and through. Lose control of any of these three points in your grip, and you'll have a tough time controlling the unity of your grip.

As for where your hands are to situate on the grip, consider the type of shot you're trying to hit. Gripping lower on the shaft will slow down your clubhead speed, enabling you to hit shots in those in-between distances without having to consciously slow down your swing. If you grip low and swing normal, the smaller arc will slow down your swing automatically. Some players, such as Anthony Kim, actually prefer gripping low on the shaft for all their iron shots, since the counterbalancing feel helps with rhythm and tempo. Experiment with what grip positions work best for you. Sometimes gripping low feels better.

What about ball position? Well, if you're a better player, having one ball position with your irons is acceptable. But that's only if you're good enough to pivot consistently. As for the rest of us, I suggest you play the short irons in the center of your stance (right down your sternum). Your middle irons ought to be played just below your shirt logo on your left side, and the longer iron just under your left armpit. Using the body's landmarks instead of foot positions will help make it easier to repeat the same ball positions as needed. Also, remember this: Your ball position is likely to change from time to time. Sometimes it's forward in your stance; sometimes a little more back. The key is to allow for some flexibility and not to get stuck. As the swing changes, allow how you position the golf ball relative to your body to adjust, as well.


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