For a truly solid iron strike, the senior golfer should have their hands slightly ahead of the ball at impact with the shaft leaning towards the target.
This position will produce the optimal angle of approach, which assuming the ball is struck from the centre of the club face, will affect the resulting shot’s trajectory. The senior golfer can produce the correct amount of backspin, launch angle and distance on any given iron shot by getting the shaft lean correct.
Pre-setting the position
An easy way to help encourage the correct amount of shaft lean towards the target at impact is to ‘pre-set’ the position at address. When setting up to a standard iron shot, press the hands forward of the ball, leaning the club shaft towards the target until the hands are opposite the left thigh (for right handed golfers). At impact, the hands should return to this position which will help create the correct angle of approach on iron shots.
It is important to state that too little or too much shaft lean towards the target at impact can create problems. As the angle of approach becomes steeper, caused when the club shaft leans more towards the target at impact, the initial trajectory of a shot will become lower. Conversely, the shallower the angle of approach, when the club shaft leans away from the target at impact, the higher the ball flight will become.
Experimenting with shaft lean
To see how the amount of shaft lean at impact can affect shot trajectory, golfers can experiment with different ball positions. With a 7 iron hit three balls, each with a different ball position. Hit the shots from the front, middle and back of the stance. However, with each set up ensure the hands are opposite the left thigh.
At impact, the ball played from the back of the stance should have the lowest trajectory, whilst the ball hit from the front of the stance should have the highest trajectory. This is because at impact, the ball hit from the back of the stance was struck with more shaft lean towards the target, increasing the angle of approach and de-lofting the club. Conversely, the ball hit from the front of the stance was stuck with the maximum amount of loft as the angle of approach was much shallower.
Golfers can use these different ball positions during a round to overcome obstacles such as low hanging branches on trees or hitting high shots over bunkers.
Remember, more shaft lean will hit the ball lower but with more spin, less shaft lean will hit the ball higher with less backspin.