Iron Play Simplified

Perfect contact is easy

LET"S MAKE THINGS EASIER, shall we? In today's age of golf instruction, there's more information than ever. Seems there are countless right ways, and countless wrong ways, to swing the golf club. In this case, I want to reduce the iron game to its simplest, most easy-to-understand level. The goal here is to get you making smooth, controlled swings that enhance your natural abilities. With these tips, you'll be on your way to making better swings and shooting lower scores, all without having to dig too much into the mechanical side of things.

Setup vs. Impact

First, setup and impact positions are very different. Often, I see some of my higher-handicap students make half-practice swings, where they start at the setup, make a backswing, and slowly bring the club back down to the setup again. What a mistake!

Think of the setup as a starting point. The body should be flexed, the arms relaxed, the ball positioned just before the lowest point on your swing arc. Once you master a solid setup like mine, here's what you need to know about both:

At impact, there are three parts of the body that look much as they did at setup—your head, your shoulders and your left arm. Everything else changes due to the rotational movement through the swing. If you try to hit from a setup position, the hands will collapse through the shot because you stop rotating. Instead, if your body keeps rotating, you can better mimic a good impact position where the hips are open, the shoulders are square, the shaft is leaning toward the target and the hands are over your left leg. Remember, whatever you do, don't try to hit from a setup position. That never works!

A good impact position with an iron is the result of a downward blow into the back of the golf ball. With the hands ahead of the ball, just as they should be at address, you'll have a better compression of the ball against the face. This means longer, higher shots with more spin on the greens.

If you don't rotate, and you simply try to get back to your setup position and hit from there, here's what will happen. The hands will more than likely collapse through the shot. Keep reading this article to see what would happen next. It's not pretty, that's for sure.


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