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How to play consistent golf

Tips from our staff of 35 top players and teachers: From power to putting, make this your best year ever

March 2008
DAVID LEADBETTER

4 keys to consistent iron shots

If you think about the great players through the years, some have been really good drivers of the ball -- Greg Norman, for example. Some have been great putters -- Seve Ballesteros comes to mind. Tiger and Jack are certainly known for their all-around games. But one thing is for certain of all players who win tournaments, particulary majors: Their iron play is top notch. Consistent iron play is all about controlling distance, trajectory and spin. Here are four keys to help you reach a higher level with your iron play.
March 2008
1. ADDRESS
Getting your shoulders fairly level puts you in position to hit crisp irons. With a driver, the shoulders are tilted more away from the target. To achieve this position, stand a club in front of you and push downward with both palms on the butt end. This gets you more centered.
2. BACKSWING
The more compact your backswing, the easier it is to hit solid irons. To eliminate wasted motion, pre-set your wrist hinge and then simply turn to the top. Feel this sensation when starting from your normal address position.
3. SPINE ANGLE
One crucial element for good iron play is to maintain a constant spine angle throughout the swing. This enables you to hit down at impact, correctly taking a divot after the ball. Many amateurs tend to rise up as they swing the club down in a mistaken attempt to help lift the ball into the air. Lifting leads to poor contact such as fat or thin shots. To correct this tendency, swing to a finish position and then hold it for a moment. Then bring the club back down as if someone hit the rewind button. You should be able to get right back into your address position. That's maintaining your spine angle.
4. IMPACT
To achieve the correct pinching action -- where clubhead meets ball and then descends into the turf, producing that textbook feel and sound -- rehearse an exaggerated impact position at address. Lean the shaft forward, with your hands well ahead of the clubhead (left). Make your normal swing, and try to re-create this feeling when you strike the ball.
Leadbetter interactive

Improve Your Setup

David Leadbetter demonstrates how you can improve your swing consistency by adjusting your grip and your posture with these interactive video drills.
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