Solid Irons

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Solid Irons

September 21, 2008

I've never found it hard to hit the longer irons. It mystifies me that some people can pure an 8-iron but not a 4. I even still carry a 2-iron, but for most people, when I talk about longer irons, I mean the 4, 5 and 6.I think the problem most amateurs have is, they try to max out their distance with each club, and they have no understanding of how short they hit the ball. Say it's 160 yards to the flag. They're pulling out a 6-iron and trying to smash it when they should have a 5 or even a 4 in their hands. When I'm choosing a club, I always try to take more club than I need and swing easy. The softer you hit an iron, the better it performs. So my first piece of advice for hitting longer irons is, don't try to smash it. You never look silly hitting it soft. Here are three of my favorite tips for nailing your longer irons.I've never found it hard to hit the longer irons. It mystifies me that some people can pure an 8-iron but not a 4. I even still carry a 2-iron, but for most people, when I talk about longer irons, I mean the 4, 5 and 6.I think the problem most amateurs have is, they try to max out their distance with each club, and they have no understanding of how short they hit the ball. Say it's 160 yards to the flag. They're pulling out a 6-iron and trying to smash it when they should have a 5 or even a 4 in their hands. When I'm choosing a club, I always try to take more club than I need and swing easy. The softer you hit an iron, the better it performs. So my first piece of advice for hitting longer irons is, don't try to smash it. You never look silly hitting it soft. Here are three of my favorite tips for nailing your longer irons.

1.) HINGE THE WRISTS SLIGHTLY

A little wrist hinge as I start to take the club back is necessary to create the leverage and the club lag I need for a crisp shot. But just like with a driver or fairway wood, I hinge my wrists only a little as I start the club back. Longer irons require more of a body turn than shorter irons, and too much wrist hinge could inhibit the turn and make the downswing too steep (far left).A little wrist hinge as I start to take the club back is necessary to create the leverage and the club lag I need for a crisp shot. But just like with a driver or fairway wood, I hinge my wrists only a little as I start the club back. Longer irons require more of a body turn than shorter irons, and too much wrist hinge could inhibit the turn and make the downswing too steep (near left).

TAKE IT BACK LOW AND SLOW

2. Take it back low and slow

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.

2. Take it back low and slow

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.

MAKE A FULL TURN AND STAY LOOSE

I try to turn my back to the target, which makes it easier to square the clubface at impact. I know some people can't turn like this, but turn as much as you can. Also, keep your grip pressure light at the top. I want some width (separation between my hands and head), but not at the expense of creating tension with a tight grip (far left).I try to turn my back to the target, which makes it easier to square the clubface at impact. I know some people can't turn like this, but turn as much as you can. Also, keep your grip pressure light at the top. I want some width (separation between my hands and head), but not at the expense of creating tension with a tight grip (near left).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Not to say Gary McCord told us so, but Gary McCord told us so. A few years ago, the TV commentator and Champions Tour player was playing a lot of golf with a 20-something Aussie named Geoff Ogilvy at Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale. The two are members there, and each time they teed it up, McCord became more and more enamored with Ogilvy's game. He told me at the time that Ogilvy had all the tools and talent to be among the tour's elite.Fast-forward to 2008. Ogilvy, who turned 31 on June 11, has four PGA Tour victories and is ranked eighth in the World Golf Ranking. His win total includes the WGC-CA Championship at Doral in March and, of course, the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot. Ogilvy persevered at Winged Foot, while his chief competitors, Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie, imploded.At the heart of Ogilvy's rise is his iron play. He can hit a 2-iron 245 yards. "You can't?" he jokes.– Ron Kaspriske

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