A common thought in golf instruction is to rotate your body around a fixed axis. You might have seen teachers use the image of mounting the back of a golfer's shirt to a door hanger to stay in a fixed position while swinging. This image will help you maintain your posture during the swing, but it makes it really difficult to hit a solid iron shot off the ground.
Ideally, you want to make ball-first contact and then bottom the club out in front of the ball—about four to six inches in front of it. To do that, your axis needs to shift toward the target when you swing. Picture standing over a clock face. If the "6" on the bottom of the clock represents your ball position at address, and is directly below your sternum (above, left), your goal is to shift the center of your body toward the "5" when you make contact. It's the best way to ensure that your divot comes after impact.
Take your address, and rehearse this correct body position at impact by soling the club out in front of the ball and leaning your sternum toward that spot (above, right). Then, when you swing, if you re-create this position, you're going to hit shots a lot more solidly.
Everyone says it's important to have goals, but if your goals aren't specific, you end up sounding like a beauty-pageant contestant who says "world peace" when asked for her one wish. If you're working on a drill or swing change, your goal should be to execute the drill and not just "hit it better." If you're on the course, your goal should be to fade it off that bunker on the left and not just "put it in the fairway." The more specific your goal, the more focused you will be to accomplish it. It'll also be more gratifying when you do.
FOLEY is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional and is based at the Core Golf Junior Academy, outside of Orlando.