This Years Top Tips on Irons
I have a thing I like to start any conversation regarding iron play: “Give It the Gas”. GAS is an acronym for; Grip, Alignment and Stance. These three fundamentals are crucial to giving yourself every opportunity to succeed in hitting your irons well.
There are three different ways to grip the club: overlapping grip, interlocking grip and ten finger grip. The overlapping grip is used by most golfers followed by the interlocking grip. A small percentage of players use the 10 finger grip. Whichever grip you choose, make sure you understand how it affects the way the club sits in your hands.
I have seen all sorts of weird alignments in my time. Some of them work and some of them don’t. The important thing to realize with improper alignment is this. If you have unresolved alignment issues, you will only make matters worse unless you correct the problem properly.
Golf is a sport. Anyone who chuckles at the fact that golfers are athletes obviously don’t appreciate the athletic requirements needed to play the game. Something as simple as your stance, which in and of itself is a basic athletic stature, can be overlooked. (1). Flex your knees…don’t bend them. (2). Bend slightly at the waist. (3). Maintain your spine angle without hunching over.
Start with the GAS principle to get your swing engine started and you will be well on your way to hitting better iron shots.
Get set over the ball
Your ball position should be the same for every iron shot: in line with the logo on your shirt (1). When your weight drives toward the target on the downswing, you'll be in position to catch the ball solid with the club still moving downward. Stance width is also important. For irons, the middle of each foot should be directly below the shoulder. That gives you a good foundation for the weight shift back and through.
Swing wide to the top
Many golfers lose their width going back, meaning their arms collapse and their hands get close to their head. That makes it hard to hit down because you have to throw the club away from you, which leads to hitting on the upswing.
Here's a drill: Take your setup, drop your left hand off the club, and swing to the top (2). Then put your left hand back on and feel that stretch in your left arm. That's the width you want.
Go down and through it
Start the downswing from the ground up, shifting your weight left. This will drop your hands and arms into a good hitting position as your body starts to rotate (3). The big fault is starting down with the arms.
To learn to hit down, take your setup with a middle iron, then lift the clubhead a few inches off the ground. From there, make your normal swing. You'll instinctively hit down, because if you don't, you'll miss the ball.
(1). Rely on your feel and what you hear.
(2). Distance…not so important-Distance control…the most important
(3). Don’t cup your left wrist…and hold the angle (lag) of your right wrist.
Practice knockdown shots at half speed to help you perfect this portion of your swing.
(4). Know where the sweet spot is on your irons
The position of the sweet spot is totally dependent on what type of irons you are playing. Blade style irons have a sweet spot that is closer to the hosel, while game improvement irons have a sweet spot closer to the middle of the club. Most golfers think the sweet spot is in a different position than it really is. When you know where the sweet spot is, then you will know with confidence where you want to make contact with the ball.
(5). Wherever your club starts at address is invariably where it returns to at impact
(6). Take a divot (see tip # 1)
(7). Make sure you know where you are aiming
It sounds easy, but many mistakes are made when aiming your shot.
Note that in all three examples, the club is aimed at the same spot. A closed or open stance should only be used when trying to shape your shot either left to right or right to left. Keep in mind that if you suffer from a slice or hook, the worst thing you can do is try to fix the problem strictly by changing your aim spot.
(8). Narrow your stance to hit the ball crisper.
(9). Hit down on the ball and don’t scoop it
(10). Don’t get in the habit of standing too far from the ball.
The rule of thumb here is to have a gap between your left hand when it is on the club at address and your body of no more than a fist width. Any more and you will find yourself reaching for the ball and not being able to attain an inside out swing path. Any less and will probably take the club away on a path that is outside of where it should be.