Short Game

How To Pure Your Irons And Hit More Greens

By Butch Harmon Photos by J.D. Cuban
February 19, 2013

Do you really think you're going to start magically hitting it 280 off the tee? Then stop trying. Assuming you're playing from the right tees and not at 6,800 yards, you just need to put the driver in play, then it's all about making good, consistent contact with your irons. That comes from swinging under control and hitting down on the ball instead of flailing away and trying to scoop it into the air--that's the biggest fault in iron play. Amateurs who hit their irons flush know they can shoot really good scores without bombing it off the tee. That's where you need to be.


Your ball position should be the same for every iron shot: in line with the logo on your shirt (1). When your weight drives toward the target on the downswing, you'll be in position to catch the ball solid with the club still moving downward.

Stance width is also important. For irons, the middle of each foot should be directly below the shoulder. That gives you a good foundation for the weight shift back and through.


Many golfers lose their width going back, meaning their arms collapse and their hands get close to their head. That makes it hard to hit down because you have to throw the club away from you, which leads to hitting on the upswing.

Here's a drill: Take your setup, drop your left hand off the club, and swing to the top (2). Then put your left hand back on and feel that stretch in your left arm. That's the width you want.


Start the downswing from the ground up, shifting your weight left. This will drop your hands and arms into a good hitting position as your body starts to rotate (3). The big fault is starting down with the arms.

To learn to hit down, take your setup with a middle iron, then lift the clubhead a few inches off the ground. From there, make your normal swing. You'll instinctively hit down, because if you don't, you'll miss the ball.