Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Master Your Iron Play
Hit Better Iron Shots With These Simple Keys
Better iron play requires solid and consistent fundamentals.
If you watch the best players in the world, and factor in the heavy pressure and stress they face during any given round, you’ll notice that the players with the soundest fundamentals are the players who rise to the top of the leaderboard come Sunday. Often, I see players who can hit their short irons well but struggle with long irons, or players who are better with middle irons than they are short and long irons. Either way, the most common reason players lack consistency through the iron set is a lack of sound fundamentals as they adjust to each club. Too often players try to change up their swing with each iron, thinking, because they’re of different lengths and lofts, they need to swing differently. Wrong! In this section, pay attention to the basics, and learn what elements of the golf swing work with just about every iron in your golf bag. While basic positions may subtly adjust, the golf swing should stay the same throughout the entire bag.
Set the grip, turn the hand, squeeze the club.
It’s that simple! Gripping the club properly with your gloved hand means gripping the club in the right sequence. I’ve seen students actually do this in opposite order, where they squeeze the club first, then set their hands, which then sends the grip all out of whack. Instead, first lay the grip along the second knuckle of the index finger and just below the point where your little finger and palm meet (as I’ve indicated with my pen). Then, while holding those pen points on the grip, rotate the hand so the V formed by your thumb and index finger point somewhere between your right cheek and shoulder.
From there, squeeze the grip so your hands are secured, but not tensed up. If you look at my knuckles, you’ll see my most comfortable grip shows two dots (I also dotted each knuckle with a pen). One dot showing indicates a weaker grip, three dots showing is a grip that’s very strong. As for what works best for you, go ahead and experiment to find out. Just be sure to follow the proper grip sequence, and once you settle on a grip position that’s optimal for you, stick with it. If you’re constantly changing your grip, you’ll have no chance at becoming a consistent iron player.
A trigger finger can help you better engage your golf swing.
|QUICK TIP! |
Choose the right width when it comes to your grips. If you have long skinny fingers, thicker grips will help. Short and stubby fingers may benefit from regular or skinny grips.
What’s a trigger finger? John Daly, for instance, as well as several other top players use some separation between their index finger and the rest of their grip as a “trigger” to help sustain proper grip pressure and assist in better hand rotation and in preventing the club from slipping too far into the palms of the hands. Give it a try and see what a trigger finger can do for your feel and overall swing.
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|The marks on my hand are the proper pressure points. Grip the club with your ungloved hand along the thumb pad and last knuckle of your index finger. ||See how the palm of my hand fits perfectly over my gloved thumb? That’s where you want it. Second, check out how my index finger is being placed just below the grip. This will help me position my hands with ease around the grip for better control. ||Unlike the gloved hand, this hand grips the club more like a clamp. My hand is secure and my thumb isn’t squished up against my hand, nor is it stretched out along the grip. Feel free to overlap or interlock your pinky. It’s a matter of personal preference. |
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