If you’re serious about breaking 80, you need to play consistent golf. But that can’t happen if you hit weak irons. To go low, you need to hit solid irons again and again and again, which will help you generate more pars and birdies. To hit solid irons, however, you need to compress the ball against the turf.
Below is a drill that teaches you to do that:
Set up with your feet together. Make sure there’s about a clubhead (7-iron) apart, and you’ve aligned them with the target line. Next, turn your front foot out about 45 degrees. Then match your front foot with your back foot. Your feet should be facing the same way, and the ball should be to your side about even with the center of your back foot.
Now, hit four or five shots from this stance. As you come down into the ball, try to deloft the club as much as you can. You want to have your hands ahead of the ball as you do this. If you deloft the club directly, the ball should go about 40 yards or so on a low trajectory. Keep doing the drill until you’re comfortable with this move.
This golf drill teaches you what it means to deloft the clubface and compress the ball on the ground. Do that correctly and you’ll hit solid irons every time. You’ll also have taken a major step toward breaking 80 and playing consistent golf.
Hitting Crisp Irons Helps You Play Consistent Golf
Ever follow a great drive with a shank from the fairway. Sure, you have. We’ve all done it at one time or another. There are few things more frustrating. Shanking an iron can turn a potential par or birdie into a bogey or double bogey. That can make you cry. If you want to go low, you need to play consistent golf. That means hitting your irons accurately and straight time and time again. That’s a challenge for most golfers.
Below are seven keys to hitting great irons and playing consistent golf:
- Plant your front foot with your weight forward
- Use a one-piece takeaway and stay connected
- Set the shaft parallel to the target line at the top
- Make a smooth transition to your downswing
- Drop your back elbow down to your side as you come down
- Retain the angle between your wrists as long as you can
- Make sure your lead hand is square to the ball at impact
These seven tips encourage you to hit down and through the ball. Here’s a way to visualize doing that: Take a tee and lay it down about an inch behind the ball with the tapered end pointing toward the ball. Take a second tee and place it in front of the ball, with the tapered end pointing away from it.
Visualize the setup next time you’re at the range. Then see yourself driving the tapered end of the first tee into the ball as you swing down on it. Keep the clubhead traveling through the ball until you hit the second tee. Follow the path of this setup, and you’ll make good, solid contact with whatever iron your hitting.
Another key to hitting irons accurately and crisply is staying under control. That means hitting your irons less than 100 percent. That’s what many pros do. Nick Faldo, for example, says he never hits an iron shot more than 80 percent. Taking a little off your swing helps you stay in balance and retain your posture as you swing.
Also, keep your chin pointed at the ball the way through the swing. That prevents you from moving your head too much or dropping your chin while swinging. Ingrain the golf tips above in your swing, and you’ll hit your irons more crisply and accurately. Doing that will help you play more consistent golf, and maybe even break 80.
Playing Consistent Golf Starts in the Tee Box: 5 Tips
The key to playing consistent golf starts in the tee box. If you can drive it long and straight with consistency, you’ll have shorter and easier approach shots. That can lead to more birdies and pars, which can help you cut strokes from your scores and your golf handicap. Next thing you know, you’ll be breaking 80 before you know it.
But achieving consistency is easier said than done. The longest club in the bag and the hardest to hit well, the driver is the hardest to control. Learning to hit the fairway with your driver over and over requires time at the practice range. (Of course, hitting the 3-wood off the tee is also an option. On holes with tight fairways or par 5s where it will take two shots to get to the green anyway, it’s often the go-to club.)
But whether you’re hitting driver or 3-wood, consistency is still the name of the game. Below are five tips and two golf drills that will help you achieve consistency off the tee and take charge of your game:
- Minimize the curve on your shot — You want to minimize the curve of your drive as much as possible—unless the hole you’re playing calls for a fade or draw off the tee. The key to hitting the ball straighter is squaring up your clubface at impact. Squaring your clubface means hitting the ball off the sweet spot on your clubface. Hitting the sweet spot every time is a challenge. Here’s a proven drill to help you do that:
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Golf Drill: Spray some foot powder on the face of your driver while at the range. Then hit some shots from a tee box. Check your clubface after each shot. You’re looking to see if the ball impacted the clubface at the sweet spot, which the foot powder will show you. If you’re not hitting the sweet spot your swings, you’ll lack consistency of the tee.
- Stare down the ball with your clubface — If you’re like some weekend golfers, you whip the club back too far on the inside of your target line. That opens up your clubface. From there, you re-route the club from outside the target line. That, of course, leads to the classic over the top move, resulting in a slice. Instead, pretend the clubface has eyes. Your job is to keep the clubface’s eyes on the ball all the way through impact.
- Swing only as hard as your pitching wedge— We know you want to hit the ball longer and harder, but don’t try to kill it. Instead, slow down on your swing and try to build more rhythm and fluidity into it. Try the following move next time on the tee to help with rhythm and timing: Count 1 to yourself as you go back, then count 2 as you make your downswing. Also, loosen your grip. Strangling your club short-circuits power.
- Match up your back shoulder and back hip — Here’s a tip from John Daly, noted PGA pro and long ball hitter. Many weekend golfers, says Daly, come forward on their downswing with their back shoulder, but leave their back hip in place. To achieve consistency off the tee, Daly says, go low and slow in the backswing. Then come forward with both your shoulder and hip at the same time. Use a rhythm and timing that works for you. Do that, says Daly, and you’ll hit it long and straight nine out of ten times.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width part — Ian Woosnam’s tip for consistency is to keep the width of your stance at shoulder length. The 1991 Master Champion says he sees a lot of weekend golfers with their feet spread too wide when hitting driver. Keeping your stance shoulder width enables you to make a complete turn. You want your back to be facing the target at the top of your swing. Woosnam also recommends looking at the back of the ball if you want to create loft.
Golf Drill: Go to the driving range. Place a ball on a tee in the ground. Take your stance. Lift your front heel up slightly while keeping your back heel down. Now hit some drives like that. Keep your front heel lifted through impact. Do the go drill five times between regular swings.
This drill teaches you proper weight distribution during your swing, which encourages solid ballstriking and increases consistency.
Playing consistent golf off the tee is the key to breaking 80. Split the fairway, and you’ll find yourself hitting shorter and easier approach shots, which can lead to more birdies and pars. Carding more of those will cut strokes from your golf handicap and take charge of your game.