How to Hit Irons: 9 Pros and Teachers Share their Best Tips

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How to Hit Irons: 9 Pros and Teachers Share their Best Tips

July 24, 2015

Photo By: Darren Carroll

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

Photo By: Dom Furore

Photo By: Matt York/AP

Take it back low

According to Geoff Ogilvy, to hit your longer irons at a solid rate, it is important to take the club back easy on your backswing. "A longer iron requires more of a sweeping motion than other irons and a smoother swing. To achieve both, I try to take it back 'low and slow' for the first few feet and get the clubshaft pointing down my target line, with the toe up halfway back. This deliberate takeaway helps promote a smooth, shallow swing that's perfectly on plane."For more irons tips, check out The Butch Harmon Swing Clinic.

Photo By: Darren Carroll

Keep posture in mind

To get the most out of your irons, it is important to maintain posture throughout the swing. According to Annika Sorenstam, "One swing thought I use for all my shots, including my irons, is to keep my right arm fairly straight on the takeaway. This helps me make a shoulder turn and not just lift my arms. From the top, I start down by pushing off my right foot. With my weight left, I turn my hips through, making room for my arms to swing into impact."More: Hitting Pure Iron Shots, by Annika Sorenstam

Photo By: J.D. Cuban

Use your whole body to smash it

In order to get the most contact and distance out of one's irons, out your entire body behind the ball, and finish the swing. According to Sean Foley, "Address the ball with a slight tilt in your shoulders so your spine is angled away from the target. Your left shoulder should be higher than your right. Also, flare out your left foot a little. This will help you make a powerful body rotation through the shot. But before you start rotating your hips on the downswing, shift them toward the target a few inches -- this should actually start happening before you finish swinging the club back."More: Smash Your Irons, by Sean Foley

Photo By: Dom Furore

Trap the ball and make a divot

According to Tiger Woods, it is integral to take a divot to ensure the best iron shot possible. To do this and strike the ball well, he advocates, "Try shallowing out your backswing -- swinging a little more around you. That sets up a shallower angle into the ball and a long, thin divot. It also helps if you turn the knuckles of your top hand to the ground through impact. This is a clear sign that you're compressing the ball, trapping it between the clubface and the turf, which will result in a divot on the forward side of the ball."More: Tiger Tip: Compress The Ball, by Tiger Woods

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

Don't help the ball up

A mistake that players often make, according to Butch Harmon, is that they try to help the ball up into the air, which often results in a short, fading shot. To fix this, Harmon says, "Keep everything moving forward through impact -- your weight, your hands and arms, the grip end of the club; hit with the back of your left hand facing the target. Feel as if you're backhanding the ball at impact. You'll deliver the club with the correct loft, so an 8-iron behaves like an 8-iron, and you'll hit more greens."More: Add Zip To Iron Shots, by Butch Harmon

Photo By: Dom Furore

Sweep into contact with long irons

When taking an shot with a longer iron, Tom Watson advocates swinging in a sweeping motion. According to him, "I've always tried to sweep my long irons rather than take much of a divot. To do that you must position the ball slightly forward of center in your stance. Then the swing arc must be shallow, not steep. Practice this sweeping swing without a ball. Hit the turf just forward of the center at the bottom of your arc. Do it enough times to become consistent. Remember: sweep, don't dig."More: Sweep The Long Irons, by Tom Watson

Photo By: Dom Furore

Take more club than you think

According to Tim Clark, a large problem that golfers face with their irons is that they never take enough club in regards to distance. Rather, take an extra club, and swing with a bit less power and a shorter finish. "I always make sure I have enough. Many times I play one club longer than normal and make a three-quarter swing with a shorter finish. A three-quarter swing can help you stay in control. And that's not just your body, but the ball, too."More: Tim Clark's Keys To Better Irons, by Tim Clark

Photo By: Stephen Szurlej

Make a full backswing

Golfers who don't make a full backswing on their iron shots tend to swing the club too steeply into the ball, according to Butch Harmon. An appropriate amount of shoulder turn is necessary to complete the backswing. To do this, "Swing your arms back wide, and make a full shoulder turn. Try to get your back to the target. Don't be too eager to hit the ball: Turn to the top, and then turn through. If you make a good move going back, you'll be in position to make a more level strike and stop hitting it thin."More: Stop Skulling Your Irons, by Butch Harmon

Photo By: Dom Furore

Try setting up closer to the ball

To hit your irons solid, Ryan Palmer advocates setting up closer to the ball and grip appropriately. "Take one more club than normal, grip down an inch, and stand closer to the ball, so the shaft is slightly more vertical. Standing closer helps trap the ball between the clubface and the turf, promoting solid contact. The reason you use an 8-iron instead of a 9 is to help lower the ball flight, and you grip down to make sure you don't hit the shot too long."Play with more consistency today! Start now →

Photo By: Matt York/AP

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