Is there any better feeling on the golf course than hitting a pure iron shot that lands right next to the pin? The swing feels effortless, the impact feels solid, the sound is crisp, and you get to brag to your buddies afterward! (haha)
Unfortunately, most golfers struggle to hit good iron shots consistently. Luckily, with a little help and a lot of practice time, anyone can improve their iron game. Here are 6 tips that will help you start hitting better iron shots.
1. Focus on the Impact Zone
As the PGA teaching pros at Bird Golf Academy will tell you, the secret to hitting solid iron shots is to hit the ball first and the ground after. To do this, you have to make sure that the arc of your golf swing bottoms out after the golf ball.
If your swing bottoms out before the golf ball, you’ll smack the ground first (OUCH). That is how those dreaded “chunked” or “fat” shots are hit. This not only hurts your hands but results in poor yardage and accuracy.
When at the driving range, make it a point to study your divot after each shot. If the majority of your divots aren’t after the golf ball, look to make some tweaks to your swing.
Never try to lift the golf ball off the ground. Keep in mind that each iron is already designed with the perfect amount of loft.
2. Try the Chalk Line Drill
The best drill for making sure you are striking the golf ball first and then the ground is the chalk line drill. Here is a guide to how this drill works.
- Take a can of spray paint and draw a straight line in the grass
- Place the golf ball in the center of the line
- Practice making half swings while trying to make divots past the golf ball and not behind it
- After getting comfortable with the half swing shots, move on to taking full swings while still striving to keep making divots past the line
3. Work on the Proper Weight Transfer
Having the correct weight transfer is vital to having a fundamentally sound golf swing. This is especially true when it comes to hitting iron shots.
To make sure your weight is being transferred properly, spread your feet out until they are shoulder-width apart. While addressing the golf ball, keep about 55% of your weight on your front foot. Keeping your weight slightly forward will make it easier to make a full weight transfer later in the golf swing.
During the downswing, shift 90 to 95% of your weight onto your front leg. This will help you make solid contact with the golf ball before striking the ground with your club.
Many golfers struggle with keeping too much of their weight on their back leg. When this happens, they’ll either hit shots that are too thin or too fat. This will limit the distance of their iron shots and cause lots of frustration.
4. Work on Keeping the Head Still
Another key to hitting pure iron shots is to keep your head as still as possible throughout the entire golf swing. Focus on keeping your upper body over the golf ball during both the backswing and the downswing. If you can do this, your head should naturally stay more still.
Lots of golfers get too excited after making contact with the golf ball and they pick their heads up to see where their shot went. This is a bad habit that can be tough to break. Keep your head still and trust that your playing partners will see where your shot lands.
5. Swing Easy
What? Yes, we know it sounds counterintuitive, but swing easy when hitting your iron shots. So many mechanical flaws in the golf swing are caused by simply overswinging.
Instead of trying to kill the golf ball, focus instead on making a smooth, controlled golf swing. This will help you make better contact and more accurate shots, which will ultimately lead to lower scores on the golf course.
For crisp iron shots, Sir Nick Faldo says to “never swing with more than 80% effort.” That’s a fantastic rule of thumb for all golfers and it certainly worked out well for the six-time major championship winner. Just make a smooth swing and let the golf club do the work.
6. Don’t Forget about the Follow Through
When it comes to being a better iron player, another key is having a good follow-through. Too many golfers have a poor follow-through because they neglect to practice it. Don’t make this same mistake!
When on the practice range, be sure to complete a full follow-through after each one of your shots. Hold your follow-through pose for at least three seconds after completing your golf swing and make sure that your belt buckle is pointed directly at your target.