Short Game

Strike Your Irons Solid

By Butch Harmon Photos by J.D. Cuban
October 01, 2012

What's worse than hitting a great drive, then chunking or skulling your iron shot from the middle of the fairway? Golfers usually have no idea why it happened. What I see is, they're trying to lift the ball instead of hitting down and through it. But you've heard that before, so let's try something else.

One good thought is to feel like your chest is more on top of the ball at impact. This prevents standing up, which usually goes with the lifting motion. Another way is to push your right knee toward your left knee, which transfers the weight to your front side. One more: Strike the ball with the back of your left hand facing the target. That gets right to the issue of eliminating the lift.

Try these moves, and you'll stop wasting your best drives (right).


If you're hitting big hooks with the driver, I'll bet you're swinging your arms real fast but your body turn is slowing down through the ball. When that happens, your hands flip past you, and the face closes too soon. To break out of the hook cycle, you have to do the opposite: Practice swinging your arms a little slower and turning your body more aggressively to the finish. Hit some drives on the range swinging at half speed. Make sure you transfer your weight to your front foot coming down and turn your lower body to face the target (right, bottom photo). Get your hips turning all the way through, and you'll stop the face from snapping closed on the ball.

Butch Harmon, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf, at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev.