Master Your Iron Play

Hit Better Iron Shots With These Simple Keys

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Keep your posture the same for your iron shots. There has been much said about having the need to adjust your posture for different iron shots, but in reality, what should change is the distance you are from the ball, not your posture. Here, I’m holding a long, middle and short iron to demonstrate how much spine angle (the amount my upper body leans toward the ball) and leg flex remain constant. Although not showing, in addition to the ball moving farther from my body with longer irons, the ball position also will move slightly closer to the target (relative to my stance). This will add a small amount of tilt to my shoulders with longer irons, but my posture and spine angle will stay the same.

If your irons are too flat or upright for you, you can tell by looking at your wear marks. Are you missing on the heel? Your irons might be too upright. Missing toward the toe? Your sticks are probably too flat. Always opt for a set of irons that matches your posture. It will make a big difference in your ballstriking performance.

Leave room so your body can swing. You don’t hear much about this one, but the distance between the club and your body also should remain consistent with every iron in your bag. I like to use a hand’s width, which in turn frees up some space to enable my body to rotate and my arms and hands to swivel and release through impact. If my hands are too far from my body at address, they’ll be too far at impact, making the production of consistent shots a tall order. Conversely, if your hands are too close to the body, your swing will be constricted and your arms won’t have the room they need to do their job. Keeping a gap between the body and the grip of the club not only will make you more consistent, but will boost your power as well.

Where you are at this point in the swing is critically important. Check out this layered photo. Sure, my body is in the same position, and so are my hands. But, if you look at the clubhead, things are drastically different. Controlling the clubface requires keeping the clubface as square to your arc as possible. Did you catch that? I said square to your swing arc, not to the target, your body, the sky, etc. The one clubhead facing toward the ground is extremely closed, which, depending on my downswing, will result in either a severely pulled or hooked shot. The clubhead that has the toe way up and even a little behind me is viciously open and will require a ton of rotation to prevent a nasty sliced shot. For the right way, see the next page.

Keep your clubface square to your swing arc. What that means is, because we swing on an arc that’s tilted (because you hit from the side of the ball, not on top of it), your clubface actually closes (relative to the target) on the backswing and opens up through impact and into the finish (also relative to the target). If that’s too much to digest, consider this: The proper clubface angle at this position on your backswing is slightly closed, but square to the swing arc. It also should parallel your left arm, as mine does in this photo.

If you’ve been trying to point the toe up at this spot, you’re doing it wrong! Practice this position with a mirror and get your clubface square to your arc. Use your arm as a guide when practicing.

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