Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Approach Shots

Get A Feel For Solid Strikes

February 15, 2012

Many amateurs think they have to work the clubhead under the ball to get it airborne. You can see it in the scooping motion they make with the right hand at impact. You might be able to get away with that type of swing when the ball is sitting up in lush grass, but when it's a tight lie, excessive right-hand action usually leads to fat or thin shots.

I want you to focus instead on your left hand as you swing down. That hand should lead the way, ideally with your left wrist slightly bowed at impact. This will help you hit down on your iron shots with a forward-leaning shaft (above left) and take a divot in front of the ball.

Teach yourself to lead with your left hand by making practice swings using the special grip I'm showing here. By gripping in the same place with the left hand but farther down the shaft and with only two fingers of the right, you get the feel of the left hand pulling the club through impact rather than the right hand pushing it. Once you reach the ball, the right hand can come into action and provide some hitting power--but that's a lesson for another time.



Raymond Floyd is one of the toughest competitors ever to play the game. In his prime, he was a steady but unspectacular ball-striker and a marvelous wedge player and putter. By far his greatest strength was his will to win. The most noticeable feature of his mental game was the way he stared down the target. His famous stare allowed him to block out everything apart from where he wanted the ball to go. To narrow your focus and eliminate distractions, work on giving your target "the eye" before you swing.


*David Leadbetter is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional based at ChampionsGate near Orlando. He operates 26 golf academies worldwide. *