Iron Play Simplified

Perfect contact is easy

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If there's one problem that plagues better players more than higher-handicappers, it's swinging too much from inside to outside the target line. To make things easier, consider this: It's okay to make a downswing from inside the target line, but if you exaggerate it too much, you run the risk of getting the club stuck too far behind you. This can lead to not only some big pushes to the right, but also a few dreaded shanked shots. In the photos above, you can see that if I swing too much to the inside, my shaft is off-plane at the top of my swing and too far across the line. I might hit the occasional decent shot from here, but only if I manipulate my hands through the swing and flip them over in time to square up the clubhead. That's really difficult to do repeatedly.


To fix the problem of swinging too far to the inside, you don't necessarily have to take the club straight back. The key is to take the club back in a way that you get to the top of your swing on the right plane. If you look at the lower set of photos, you can see that the butt of the grip is pointing in front of me at the top, as opposed to behind me, as seen in the upper photos. This position is a better on-plane position, making it easier to swing through on the proper plane. So experiment with a backswing that allows you to get into a good position at the top of your swing. And by the way, through the shot, there's no need to force the body to swing "to the outside" of the target line. The right path for every club is to swing from slightly inside the target line, to on the target line at impact, then back inside the target line.

Master The Backswing

How you take the club back affects how well you'll be able to swing the club down and through on the forwardswing. I see a lot of my students swing their middle irons as though they're short irons. They lift them up and swing with a narrow and steep backswing. And while your middle irons are designed to be swung steeper than your long irons, you should still swing them with a long, fluid motion—not a quick, steep motion better suited for a short iron or wedge shot. The key is to descend into the ball, but not as steep as you do with a short iron.


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