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How to hit crispy iron shots: A 5-step guide to more consistency

December 03, 2023

Hitting crisp iron shots for most amateur golfers, is the key to more consistency, longer drives, and straighter shots. It's a lack of solid contact that causes a majority of most golfers' blow up holes, too. A slice or hook most times you can deal with. But those contact errors: A chunk, or skull, or shank; those are the confidence killers, and the round ruiners. — Joe Plecker, Director of Instruction, Landings Club, Savannah, Ga., Golf Digest Best in State Teacher

How To Make Crisp Contact

  • Get your buttons over the ball
  • Align both centers of your body
  • Lean your hands slightly forward
  • Straighten your trail arm into impact
  • Get your body over your left side

Crisp Contact Step #1: Buttons over ball

All great iron players reduce the loft of the club at impact. That's what gives them that compression on the golf ball, which is the key to crispy iron shots. Aligning the buttons on your shirt so they're over the golf ball will help get the center of your body, your sternum, over the golf ball. That's the first step to crisp contact.

Crisp Contact Step #2: Align your centers

With your upper body over the ball, take a moment to make sure your lower body is, too. For an iron shot, the center of your upper and lower bodies should be stacked on top of each other at setup to help you hit down. This is unlike a drive, where your upper body will be tilted back slightly, to help you hit up.

Crisp Contact Step #3: Lean hands forward

Again, we're trying to create a descending blow onto the golf ball with our iron shots, and leaning your hands forward helps with that. It gets us a little closer to what we want the impact alignments to be at impact, and it also creates a slightly sooner wrist hinge on the backswing that will help with compression. It plays nicely with the centered pivot we need for these iron shots.

Crisp Contact Step #4: Straighten your trail arm

As you may have gathered, the goal is to hit the ball on a descending blow. Thinking of hitting down, though, can often cause golfers to get too steep and come over the top. Especially if they struggle with a slice already. I prefer the thought of straightening your trail arm, which is your right arm for right-handed golfers.

Crisp Contact Step #5: Finish over lead side

When the time comes to swing, keep the thought simple. Most of the necessary adjustments we've made at setup. Straightening your trail arm will help with compression through the ball. As you swing, your goal should be to simply finish so your body is over your left side, with your right shoulder to finish more forward. If you're tilting away or hanging back by the finish, you're going to struggle making crisp contact.

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