“Boys, we’re going back to basics.”

    It’s an oft-repeated phrase in sports, usually spoken by a coach whose team can’t consistently execute fundamental tasks like blocking and tackling. It sounds boring, but it’s the right move whenever a squad’s performance is headed south.

    Golf is no exception. When hitting the irons, many of us bounce between good shots and poor ones. We’re puzzled by our uneven results, wondering why we can hit one shot so sweet, then follow it with an awful chunk or skull.

    The answer is probably this simple: Your fundamentals are inconsistent. On your good shots, you set up and swing on balance, transfer your weight properly and keep your hands ahead of the ball. On your lousy shots… Not so much.

    How to Correct Inconsistent Golf Iron Shots

    When your iron game goes awry, get it back on track using this checklist:

    • Balance: Fact—You will never be a consistent ballstriker without good balance. If your weight is tipped too far forward, back, left or right at any point in the swing, you’ve got very little chance of making solid contact. Luckily, golf’s best and easiest drill deals with this very issue. As a bonus, it will improve your tempo, too:
    • Posture: It’s all too easy to fall into bad habits here. Maybe you tend to bend over too far at address, then raise up during the swing. Maybe you do the opposite, or lean to the right at setup. Two points on posture: 1) You must set up with correct posture, and 2) You must keep that posture throughout the swing.
    • Here are two great tips to help you achieve both goals:

    • Hand position: Hit down to make the ball go up. That’s the essence of iron play. Unless you’re hitting the ball with a descending blow, you’re losing distance, accuracy and backspin. Striking down on the ball begins – where else? – at address. Make sure your hands are slightly ahead of the ball, with the shaft leaning toward the target, before taking the club back.
    • Alignment: Hitting the ball solidly but spraying shots all over the course? Assess your alignment. Lining up off-target is an obvious flaw which causes a less-than-obvious problem. When your alignment is off, your body will make swing adjustments to hit the ball at the target. Next thing you know, you’re coming over the top or casting the club.
    • Watch this video for a quick alignment fix:

      Golf is a never-ending battle to become (and remain) consistent, and we’re all prone to over-analysis when our game is off course. Before you get lost in technical details and minutiae, go back to basics. Chances are, that’s where your trouble lies.