Quick tips for better iron play

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Hit A Hybrid
Even with good mechanics, it’s still difficult to hit crisp iron shots from the rough. Hybrids can make matters easier, thanks to their big, flat soles and deep CG weighting schemes. The trick is, don’t get wide with your hybrids either. Stay narrow in the rough and hit down on the golf ball. If you try to scoop the ball with an iron or a hybrid, you just won’t get good results. Stay steep!

Escape The Rough
Hitting from the rough is never fun. It’s one of the few places on the golf course that requires you to alter the way you normally swing. And in case you’re wondering, that doesn’t necessarily mean swing harder, and many of my students assume you should. When golfers try to swing harder, they usually take longer, wider swings, which actually makes matters worse when you’re in the long stuff.

The solution is to steepen your downswing with more wrist hinge, not swing harder. This means adding more hinge at the top and more lag through the hit. You can still have a wide backswing, but the downswing has to be narrow. The result will be a steeper, more descending blow into the ball with less grass interference. Try this the next time you’re in the rough. Add more hinge in your backswing and add lag on the forwardswing, as you can see in the photos below. I bet you’ll hit it farther than if you try to muscle the ball out of the rough.

Draw It
The new style of play is to hit everything straight and right at the target. But that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter instances on the course where you need to shape the ball. To start by hitting a draw, I like to make my changes in the swing, not in the setup. So set up as you normally would for a given iron shot. As you swing, the key is to swing “low to high.” By “low,” I mean the clubshaft should remain below the shoulders on the downswing. By “high,” I mean the hands should finish high. This will help you swing more from the inside of the target line and put draw spin on the ball. Just don’t inhibit the hands from releasing through impact. If you do, that draw will turn into a dead push. If you think “low to high,” the ball will fly high and with a smooth draw.

Fade It
To hit a fade, again set up to the ball as you normally would. Only now, we’re going to do things in an opposite fashion. In this case, think “high to low” through the shot. This means, the hands are in a higher position at the top of the swing and into the downswing. “Low” refers to where the hands finish, which as you can see, is significantly lower than they are with the draw shot. The key with the body is to keep rotating, since with a high-to-low swing, you’ll be swinging more from outside the target line to back inside the target line. Body rotation is critical because you need to stay ahead of the hands. If you don’t, you’ll hook it. Think “high to low” and watch that ball fly with a gentle fade.

Brady Riggs, PGA, is one of the most popular and sought-after instructors in Southern California. For more information and to book a lesson, visit

1 Comment

Add Comment