Iron Basics

By Chris Foley

The biggest factor in scoring is the number of greens a player hits in regulation; hitting a par 3 green in 1, par 4 green in two, and a par 5 green in 3. The more greens a player hits the lower the score they will shoot.

Hitting greens in regulation is a result of good iron play. The key to hitting solid iron shots is hitting the right amount of golf ball and ground in a consistent manner.

The club head during the golf swing travels along an arc or circle. A well-struck iron shot is struck along the downward side of the arc, not the upward side. Ideally the club strikes the ball and then brushes the ground after the ball. The ball goes in the air by rebounding off the clubface, not the ball being lifted in the air.

Here are some elements that will contribute to the club bottoming out in the optimal spot.
• Ball position at address. For irons, the ball should be positioned forward of center in the stance between the lead heal and the center of the stance. This neutral position gives us the best opportunity to make solid ball, turf contact.
• Swing the club back and through at the angle similar to what it was at address. When the club swings back and through at a similar angle, it will tend to hit the ball and the ground in the correct place. If the forward swing is too steep, the club will tend to bottom out too far forward of the golf ball. If the forward swing is too flat, the club will tend to bottom out too far behind the ball.
• Creating an efficient pivot. An efficient pivot is one in which the player’s weight shifts to the trail side in the backswing without it shifting to the outside of the player’s trail foot. It is a building up and storing of energy to be used in the forward swing.
• Shifting to the lead side in the forward swing. In the forward swing, the shift of pressure occurs very early in the transition. The shift of pressure to the lead side moves the low point of the swing toward the target and in front of the ball.

Becoming better at controlling the low point of the golf swing will have a direct correlation on the quality of your ball striking with your irons. The better your iron play, the more greens you will hit in regulation and the lower the scores you will shoot!

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