I understand why I'm known for hitting the driver a long way. But it's my iron play I'm proudest of right now. I went from ninth in greens in regulation on tour in 2011 to second last year (Justin Rose snuck in and robbed me of the No. 1 spot), and this year I've been even sharper.Irons are all about precision, not power. And it was my iron play that was behind my winning the Masters last year. I hit all my irons, from my wedges through the middle of my bag, real solid and controlled my distances well.The best thing about my improvement is, I've done it without getting technical. I have just a few keys, all designed to keep me balanced and not swinging too hard. When you're in control with your irons, you're in control of your entire game.BUBBA WATSONhas won four times on the PGA Tour, including the 2012 Masters Tournament.
Photo By: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images Sport
SET UP OPEN, AND STAY LOOSE
Lining my feet open to the target stops my hips from turning too far on the backswing, and that makes it easier to unwind my hips coming down. For the 7-iron I'm using here, I play the ball just forward of middle in my stance. I keep my back nice and straight, so I can turn like a wheel around an axle. I make sure my arms are relaxed so they swing easily going back, but at the same time I want my grip to be on the firm side. You want to feel like you're in command of the club.
LET THE MOMENTUM TAKE YOU TO THE TOP
I keep my weight a little on the heels of both feet going back. One of the worst things you can do is get out over your toes, because you'll crowd the ball and have trouble keeping your balance. I swing the club back with my arms and let the momentum turn my shoulders to the top. Never rush that part. You've got to feel loose, or you'll tense up and get too quick.You'll notice how my right arm is almost vertical. That helps me feel as if I can swing straight down the target line on the downswing. If your leading arm is more horizontal, that's OK. Not many amateurs can swing as upright as I do and get away with it.
SWING THE CLUBHEAD AT THE TARGET
The picture I have through impact is of sweeping the ball off the turf, similar to my woods. I don't like to take deep divots and wouldn't suggest you do either, because you can easily hit the ball fat or way off line. In the impact area, think of it like skinning an apple: You want to take off the outer layer of skin, not dig all the way to the core. Try to keep the clubhead moving down the target line as much as you can before impact and after.
POINT YOUR BELT BUCKLE STRAIGHT AHEAD
Two things about your finish will tell you how good a swing you made. First, you want your belt buckle to face the target. If it didn't get there, you probably unwound your shoulders too early instead of letting your hips lead. It also can mean you lost your rhythm and got quick. Second, make sure your feet stay quiet. My front foot turns out a little, but that's what it does naturally to support my swing--remember, I'm hitting this 7-iron 200 yards. But I do want to feel solid in my feet, so that's something I'm working on. If you keep your footing, it's proof you've stayed in balance and didn't swing harder than you can control.