Lean Shaft Forward For Best Iron Shots, Ladies Golf Tip

If you are struggling to play good iron shots then try achieving an impact position where the shaft of the golf club is leaning forward.

Achieving this forward lean position with the shaft of the golf club at impact will allow you to make a downward striking action with the club head into the golf ball, which is required to hit great iron shots. It also allows you to strike the golf ball with more club head speed as the forward lean position in the shaft results in a late release of the club head into the golf ball achieving maximum club speed striking the ball and therefore maximum shot distance. When the club shaft leans back rather than forwards at impact, the club head makes an upward striking action towards the ball striking the top of the golf ball or even the ground before the ball. It also results in a lower club head speed striking the ball as the club head will be decelerating when it strikes from this shaft position.

To achieve a forward lean in the shaft at impact, you could practice hitting an impact bag to learn the correct position to be in as you strike the golf ball. Place the impact bag opposite your left foot (for right handed golfers). Swing away from the impact bag on your backswing. Work on swinging the golf club back to the bag so that your hands move over the top of the bag before the shaft impacts with it. As you do this. rotate your body towards the target but work on achieving the shaft hitting the upper part of the impact bag, rather than the club head hitting the impact bag first.

If you do not have an impact bag then use a stand bag and work on this drill. Place the stand bag about two feet on the left of the golf ball so that the legs of the stand bag are on the outside of the target line and the bag is on the inside. Swing away from the golf ball and then slowly swing the club back down to strike the ball at a slower speed. You could also do this replacing the ball with a coin to strike at. The point of the drill is to make a good connection between the middle of the club face and the golf ball but to then stop the golf club so that the shaft finishes in a vertical position before the stand bag. If you stop in this shaft position then the shaft of the club will have had a forward lean at impact, as if it was leaning backwards, the club head would flick up and strike the stand bag, rather than finish in a low, vertical shaft position.

Work on achieving this forward lean position slowly at first and then as you become more competent at achieving the position, gradually speed your movement up until you are back at a full swing speed.

But achieving the forward lean at impact with the shaft will really improve your iron play and get you striking the golf ball much more consistently, accurately and further than before.

Why Lean Shaft Forward for Best Iron Shots?

Why Lean Shaft Forward for Best Iron Shots?

It is easy to focus your attention on your driver during practice sessions. The driver is the club which sends the ball the greatest distance down the fairway, and many players consider it the most exciting club in the bag to hit. And, to be sure, your driver does play a big role in your success. A player who can use the driver effectively is almost sure to post consistent results. However, if you want to take your game to a higher level and open up the possibility of shooting truly low scores, you are going to have to master the iron game.

Great iron shots are the only way to set up birdie and par opportunities. Even the best drive isn't going to do you much good if you follow it up with a poor iron shot that misses the green. Owning a reliable iron game is a great boost to both your performance and your confidence on the course. In fact, you may be able to play some good golf even if you aren't great from the tee, as long as your accurate iron shots can bail you out of trouble time and time again. It would be ideal to be equally strong in all areas of the game, of course, but owning a reliable iron game is one of the best things you can claim in golf.

In this article, we are going to discuss one of the most important elements of good iron play – leaning the shaft forward at impact. For most iron shots, the shaft should be leaning slightly toward the target when the club head makes contact with the ball. This is a technique you will see used by nearly every professional golfer in the world, which should tell you everything you need to know about its importance. If the pros think it is worthwhile to lean the shaft toward the target, you should be doing the same. Your game is going to benefit in a number of ways when you manage to get into this position.

Of course, leaning the shaft toward the target at impact isn't something that just happens by accident. You need to design both your stance and your swing technique to make sure this happens on a regular basis. The swing happens far too fast for you to be able to force your hands into this kind of position manually – you have to cause it to happen automatically thanks to the steps you take earlier on in the action. Create a swing which causes your hands to naturally land in front of the ball at impact and you can be sure that the shaft is going to have the forward lean you need.

All of the instruction contained in this article has been written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

The Benefits of a Forward Shaft Lean

The Benefits of a Forward Shaft Lean

You always want to know what you stand to gain when working on a specific part of your golf game. Without some idea of how you will benefit from making a change, it is unlikely that you will remain motivated enough to make that change. In this section, we are going to explain just how your golf game can improve if you get to work on establishing a forward shaft lean at impact. Each of the following points should be seen as motivation to spend some upcoming practice time on this important fundamental.

  • Clean up your ball striking. Every golfer should aspire to hit the ball cleaner and cleaner as they advance in this game. What does it mean to hit the ball clean? Basically, we are talking about catching the ball on the sweet spot of the club as often as possible. It might seem simple, but hitting the ball on the sweet spot is one of the best things you can do for your game as a whole. Clean ball striking will allow you to hit the ball the right distance time after time, and you should be able to hit your target line more frequently as well. It can't be emphasized enough – clean up your ball striking and your game is going to improve dramatically. It's just that simple.
  • Add distance to your iron shots. Would you like to hit your irons a bit farther without having to add any speed to your swing? Of course you would – who wouldn't? Unlocking some extra yardage may be as simple as learning how to lean the shaft forward toward the target at impact. With a forward shaft lean, the ball is going to leave on a slightly lower trajectory, and it will cover more distance as a result. Don't worry – that lower launch angle doesn't mean you will be destined to hit low shots all around the course. Thanks to the greater amount of backspin which will be achieved, the ball will climb up into the air as it goes, leaving you with a trajectory which is easy to control.
  • Increased spin rate. As was mentioned in the previous point, you should find that you are able to spin the ball at a higher rate when you lean the shaft forward at impact. Adding spin is helpful in a number of ways, as it will both allow you to hit higher shots and help you to stop the ball quickly as well. Iron shots are all about control, so while that added distance is going to be nice, this stopping power is really where you are going to make your gains. Land the ball near the hole, keep it there, and set up a makeable birdie putt.
  • Access the ball from a bad lie. When your ball strays from the fairway, you automatically know that you are in a bit of trouble. Depending on the kind of lie you happen to draw off the fairway, you may or may not be able to hit an iron shot all the way to the green. When you use forward shaft lean, you will have a better chance to get down to the ball successfully. Arriving at a position where the shaft is leaning toward the target can only be accomplished when you swing down into the hitting area – and swinging down is going to permit you to miss some of the grass (or anything else) which may be resting behind the ball. You still won't be able to hit these kinds of shots as cleanly as you will be able to hit the ball from the fairway, but your forward shaft lean will help you conquer poor lies as successfully as possible.

You have a lot to gain when you put your shaft into a forward-leaning position at impact. It might not be easy to achieve this position, depending on the current status of your golf swing technique, but it will be worth the effort to teach yourself this skill. Your overall iron play is going to be improved, and your scores should improve at the same time.

How It Happens

How It Happens

Like anything else in the golf swing, it is going to take careful planning if you are going to wind up with the club shaft leaning forward at impact. You can't just tell yourself to get into this position and expect it to actually happen – you need to plan your technique around this goal. Fortunately, you don't have to do anything particularly complicated to succeed here, as it is just going to come down to basic fundamentals both in your address position and during your swinging action.

First, let's talk about the keys in your address position. The following points are essential –

  • Set hands ahead at address. It only makes sense to set your hands slightly ahead of the ball at address, if that is where you want them to wind up at impact. Lean the shaft just slightly forward when you stand over the ball and your hands will be in the perfect spot to get things started correctly. You don't want to make this part of your setup too dramatic, so only set your hands past the ball by just an inch or two.
  • Balance yourself perfectly. This is an important point for a number of reasons. Starting in a balanced position is going to help you return the shaft to a forward leaning spot, but it is also going to help your swing be more consistent overall. Make sure your center of gravity is perfectly between your feet, and also be sure that you are not leaning forward or backward to any degree. You should feel grounded and solid over the ball, as if you could swing as hard as you want without any risk of losing your balance.
  • Keep your chin up. If you are going to get back to a good position at impact, you are going to need to make a great turn. In order to make that turn, you will have to keep your chin up at address – and throughout the rest of the swing, as well. It is easy to get into the habit of pushing your chin down into your chest in order to get a good view of the ball, but doing so is going to restrict your turn. As you settle into your stance, make sure your chin is up away from your chest while your eyes look down at the golf ball.

As you might expect, your job is not done even after you establish a quality stance. Now that your body is in the right position prior to starting the swing, you need to use the right technique within the swing itself to deliver the club perfectly at the moment of impact. The next three points all relate to keys which you can focus on in the swing to complete this task successfully.

  • Maintain your lag. There is nothing more important than maintain your lag in the downswing if you want to lean the shaft forward at impact. Lag refers to the club head lagging behind your hands as you swing down – unfortunately, this is an action that many amateur golfers struggle to master. If you can learn how to hold on to your lag all the way from the top of the swing down through the hitting area, it will become quite easy to lean the shaft forward at the point of contact.
  • Turn your lower body. Even if you do maintain your lag, the club won't be in the right position at impact if you fail to turn your lower body through the shot. Rotate hard to the left on the way down and make sure that most of your weight is on your left side by the time you hit the ball. It is important that this action is a rotational one, rather than a slide. There is no room for any sliding motion in your swing at all. Turn back away from the ball in the backswing and then turn through toward the target. Making your swing all about rotation will cause you to be in an excellent position at the bottom.
  • Keep your head up, but down. In the previous list of points, we mentioned that you need to keep your chip up at address and throughout the swing. That is true, but you also need to keep your eyes down on the ball. Many players look up prematurely in the downswing, hoping to see the ball take off in the right direction. Of course, looking up isn't going to do anything to help you hit the ball more accurately. In fact, if you do look up, you will be likely to lose your lag and fail to get the shaft past the ball at impact. Keep your eyes down while your chin stays away from your chest for the best chance at a successful result.

There is plenty to think about when working on this part of your swing. You don't want to have all of these thoughts in your mind on the course, obviously, so work on them one at a time on the range until they are a natural part of your technique. As you make progress on these points, you should notice your ball striking will get better and better, a bit at a time. Use that progress as motivation, and keep going until you are satisfied with your improved swing technique.

Watching for Evidence

Watching for Evidence

When you are playing a round of golf, it can be hard to get feedback on how your swing is performing. Sure, you can evaluate your swings based on the results of each shot, but even that measure can be deceiving. For instance, if you make a great swing – but choose the wrong club – you might come up short of the target even if you did everything right from a technique standpoint. Any information you can gather about your swing while playing a round of golf should be welcomed with open arms.

Fortunately, there is one piece of evidence you can watch for which will help to confirm that you are leaning the shaft forward at address properly. The piece of evidence you are going to be using is the divots you take out of the turf. After each iron shot, there will (hopefully) be a divot taken out of the grass. Does that divot start just past the position of the ball? If so, you can be confident that you have done a good job with your shaft lean at the point of impact. If not – if you are starting your divot before the ball, or there is no divot at all – you may have more work to do.

The nice thing about watching your divots is the fact that they can tell you about more than just your shaft lean. Watching divots will also tell you about the path the club is taking through impact, which is another point of vital information. You will often see professional golfers stand back after hitting a shot in order to review their divot, and you should consider doing the same. Just a quick check before replacing the turf and moving on will help you keep tabs on the quality of your swing technique. It would be a mistake to just assume that your swing is performing properly during your rounds. Once you learn how to read your divots, you will no longer need to assume – you can see for yourself how your swing is doing based on the evidence which has been left on the ground.

Watching your divots is just one way you can use evidence on the golf course to improve your performance. There are other examples of this concept which you can use to your benefit as well. For instance, you should also be looking for your ball marks on the green and comparing them to the final position of the ball. Are your shots stopping quickly, or are they taking big bounces? That information will help you aim future shots. Additionally, any 'trails' left in the dew that may be on the ground early in the day can help you to read the slope of the course. No piece of information is too small to consider in this difficult game.

Going the other Direction

Going the other Direction

On the vast majority of your iron shots, you are going to want to lean the shaft toward the target at impact. However, there are a few occasions when you will want to go against this grain in order to produce a very specific type of shot. Usually, that is going to be when you need to elevate the ball very quickly to get over an obstacle. Should you find yourself in a position where you need to hit an iron shot which gets over a tree that is not very far in front of you, leaning the shaft away from the target will be the best bet.

When you need to produce this specialty shot, how should you change your technique? First, you should move the ball up in your stance. Placing the ball forward in your stance will naturally encourage you to achieve a higher launch angle. Of course, it is easy to hit the ball thin when playing from a forward ball position, so be sure to stay down and keep your head steady. Also, it is even more important than ever to use your lower body correctly on this kind of shot. Simply put, there is no way to pull this off without cooperation from your lower half.

The other part of your technique change has to do with your lag. On this shot, you are intentionally going to give up your lag a little early. During the downswing, use your right hand to force the club head down toward the ball. This will add loft to the club at the point of impact, and while you won't hit the shot as far as normal, you will hit it higher. Practice this unusual technique on the driving range to make sure you can execute it on demand when the situation arises.

Having the ability to send the ball quickly up into the sky is something that will bail you out of a tight spot from time to time. You shouldn't need to use this kind of shot in every round – hopefully, you will only have to use it on a rare occasion. In many ways, golf is about preparing for shots that you hope you never have to use. Teach yourself this technique and then do your best to keep the ball in the fairway so you can keep this shot in your bag.

Leaning the shaft toward the target is one of the best things you can do for your golf game. Iron shots which are struck while your hands are slightly past the position of the ball should launch low, spin up into the sky, and stop quickly. If you have been having trouble setting up birdie opportunities, making this improvement to your iron game could lead to far more impressive approach shots. Good luck!