Iron play is all about accuracy. Unfortunately, many weekend golfers with high golf handicaps focus on minute details in their swings. Often, these details are irrelevant and uncontrollable. You can’t predict how a smudge of dirt on your 7-iron will affect contact. You also can’t predict how a slight breeze will affect distance if you hit the ball solidly. So forget about these minute details. Instead, work on the things that really count. Perform these things well and the minute details won’t matter.
Concentrating on the things that really matter is a great golf tip for sticking your irons when necessary. Here are six others:
1. Listen To Your Shots
Feedback is critical when practicing, as I tell students in golf lessons. Feedback helps you make adjustments to your swing until you get it right. With irons, there are two kinds of feedback: how the shots felt and how they sounded. Thin shots and fat shots have a distinct sound. But good shots have a crisp thwack at impact. Listen for this sound when playing and practicing. The sound of your shot can give you clues as to how well you’re hitting the ball.
2. Direction Over Distance
If you’re serious about shaving strokes from your golf handicap, learn distance control with your irons. Distance control is paramount to sticking good iron shots. In golf lessons we teach students to master distance control by learning to vary the length and speed of their swings. If you do that, you’ll increase your ability to pinpoint iron shots, setting yourself up for the next shot.
3. Keep Head Low At Impact
The one thing many great tour players share is that their heads are lower at impact than when they were standing at address. Great ballstrikers go down after the ball by flexing their knees—not by bending at their hips or dropping their heads. Their knees drop down slightly and move toward the target at the same time. This leans the club forward so that the shaft is angled ahead of your forward arm, leading to a pure hit
4. Maintain Wrist Angle
Another trait great tour players share is that their hands always lead a trailing iron. This makes it possible to hit down on the ball and squash it against the ground, just like you’re taught in golf instruction sessions. To do this, you need to maintain the semi-cocked position with your right wrist (left wrist for left-handers) through impact, with the right palm facing down. Bad ballstrikers have their wrist facing up at impact. More often than not, bad ballstrikers try to flip the right wrist so that the clubhead scoops and passes their hands. This leads to mis-hits almost every time.
5. Capture The Moment of Impact
If you ever get a chance to see video of Johnny Miller, the great PGA pro, swinging, you’ll notice that he’s still staring at the ground after impact. In his words, he’s trying to “freeze frame” that fraction of a second when the clubhead meets the ball. His goal is to actually “see” the moment of impact—something many people say is impossible. Nevertheless, keeping his head down like that helps him square the club at impact and helps produce good crisp contact.
6. Slow Down Your Swing
Speed kills when hitting irons. It’s a common swing fault you see in golf lessons—players trying to swing their irons faster to generate more distance. Reining in your swing speed is the key to accuracy. Instead, swinging the club at about 75 percent of your top swing speed. This provides better balance and rhythm. It also helps improve your mechanics and enables you to hit the sweet spot more often. You also don’t need a lot of speed to put backspin on your ball. Pure backspin is the result of good contact more than anything else.
Sticking your irons is all about distance control. Work on executing the golf tips explained above and you’ll find yourself sticking your irons more and more. Sharpening distance control is one key to chopping strokes off your golf handicap. So if you’re determined to lower your handicap this year, learn to hit your irons accurately.