Approach Shots

How To Take A Little Off An Iron


There are many times when a three-quarter shot makes sense. It could be that you're between clubs, or you need to flight the ball under a head wind, or maybe you just want more control, particularly with your short irons. Despite its versatility, the three-quarter shot has always raised questions: Does the term refer to the length of the backswing? The speed of the swing? The distance the ball flies? Interpret it the wrong way, and you'll struggle to hit this shot.

Think of it simply as hitting a shot less than the club's full potential. You're not swinging flat out, and the way to do this is to quiet your lower-body action. Your legs and hips are fairly active on full shots--your right knee and foot kick in and your pelvis rotates fully toward the target. For a three-quarter shot, keep your right foot flat on the ground as long as possible (below). This helps you stay down and maintain your spine angle for good contact. Your swing will feel a little restricted, but resist the urge to hit it harder--remember, you're trying to take something off the shot. Focus on rhythm and keeping that foot down, and you'll fall in love with the three-quarter shot.


You've probably been told to keep your left arm straight to promote solid contact. The problem is, that thought can lead to tension. Instead, think about keeping your swing arc wide as you go back. That will help your left arm stay long without creating any extra stress.

David Leadbetter, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, operates 26 golf academies worldwide.