You have just hit the best driver of your life sending it straight down the middle of the fairway. The possibility of making a birdie excites you, and while strutting your way to where your perfect drive has landed, you arrive to see you have a 120 yard shot to the pin. No wind, sun is shining, and the smell of freshly cut grass fills your golfing soul. Everything is going as planned, until..... you thin your shot so far over the green and into the shrubs that there is no probable way you're ever going to find that ball again. Did I mention; that was your favourite golf ball?
Instead of getting lost in the bushes looking for your ball like these two above, let's talk about 3 things that will help you create more consistent contact with your irons.Then you'll be able to spend more time draining birdie putts instead of going on a scavenger hunt in the bushes.
You'll find written below, the three things I commonly notice with poor iron shots:
How you are thinking about getting the ball in the air. Ask yourself, are you trying to scoop underneath the ball and help it up into the air OR are you coming down on the ball, trapping it, and letting the loft of the club do the work.
Correct answer: Coming down on the ball.
"But Cari, what if I take too much grass and hit way behind the ball?" - This leads to point 2.
2. Rotation: Rotation and lower body movement is a core principle in anyone's swing. When work with beginners they tend to have lots of upper body movement/arms-dominant swing patterns. Although having upper body movement isn't a bad thing, it certainly can't be the only thing working. I am sure many of you reading this have heard the saying, "You just lifted your head,"or "you looked up." This often results in a low shot or sometimes even a whiff. As of now I want you to forget that saying. Instead, I want you to think "I lost my posture." Your posture is defined as the angle of your spine at address. Losing your posture is simple to think about, and all it means is that you have too much "Up & Down" movement in your swing, (dropping down/standing up as you approach impact). In order to balance this out, (the golf swing is all about matching motions and sequencing), you need to add rotation! We need to get your belt buckle turning away from the target in your backswing, turning back towards your target in the downswing, and finally facing your target in your follow through. Michele Low does a great job of describing this in the YouTube video below.
Overall, If you have no/very minimal lower body movement, it will negatively impact where you are connecting with the ball, (your low point), causing you to hit ground before the ball, (chunky shot), or only catching the top portion of the ball, (low, thin shot).
3. Ball Position: Clients are shocked when I tell them two things. The first thing being that the ball is too far forward in their stance. The second, that they thought their ball was in the proper place, but again was too far forward. Since each iron in your set is a different length, the club will "bottom out" differently. Here's a good example: You have a pitching wedge in your hands with the ball placed more towards the front foot and you constantly are hitting thin/low shots. Because the club is shorter you will be swinging it on a more upright plane. Due to this, the club will want to bottom out more towards the middle of your stance. The further forward you place the ball in your stance, the more 'up' you'll be swinging on it, resulting in poor contact. Thin/low shots are not the only thing that can happen, taking too much ground and chunking the ball is just as likely. Here is a good visual for proper ball position with each and every club in the bag:
If you have all three of these points in mind and put in the work, your contact with irons will improve immensely. I hope these tips will help you hit more greens, and have a better understanding on how to achieve consistent contact.
If you liked this article, give it a thumbs up and leave a comment below as to what you would like me to discuss next. I'll be trying to write about a new topic every few weeks in order to help as many of you golfers as I can.