Distance control is the hallmark of great iron players. Whenever I play in pro-am events I am amazed at how poorly amateurs club themselves. Nearly always at least 2 clubs too little, even though on most golf courses the majority of the trouble is at the front of the green!
- Learn how far you really hit the ball. With modern technology (launch monitors, lasers, GPS) there is no excuse for not knowing this. We use Flightscope at Abbeydale Golf Club and it is how far you PITCH the ball on AVERAGE (not your Sunday best) that is the key. Knowing this will allow you to fly the ball onto the green, or at least select the appropriate club to clear any hazards.
- The ball is on the ground which means we need a descending blow when hitting iron shots. Therefore it is important your ball position is more central than it would be with a Driver.
- Every Tournament professional you will ever see opens their body up to the target at impact. It gives them more room to swing the arms through and create that effective impact position. I find a lot of amateurs struggle to get into this position. With iron shots (and particularly short irons) try opening up your feet and hips a little to the target at address, however leave the shoulders square. You might just find you start striking the ball a lot sweeter which is a key to controlling your distance.
- Once you are consistently striking the ball out of the middle of the club, then work at controlling your tempo. Doing this will again help you to control your swing speed and therefore your distance. Typically good players have a ratio of approximately 3:1 backswing to downswing. I simply count 1,2,3 in my head on my backswing and try to strike on 4 but you might find something along the lines of “slowly back and hit” has the desired effect. As with all shots, get in the habit of holding a good balanced finish….. every great player has done this, so should you!