It goes without saying that we all love the sound of a crisply struck iron that homes in on the target like a heat seeking missile.
Now, I am not saying that all of a sudden I am going to transform your game to a new level, the truth is I don’t know how good your ball striking can become. But what I can do over the next few pages is show you how most swings leak energy and accuracy and that could just be the difference to your ball striking capabilities.
Take some time to read the tips over the next few pages and use it as a manual to test for the leaks in your swing. Applying some of the tips I talk about may just make your iron play more enjoyable. Learn to love your irons.
1. Move your hands... not the clubhead
As so many have said before, the first three feet of the backswing is important. You want to try and keep control of as much as possible for as long as possible, especially the clubhead.
Keeping your club in alignment with your hands and arms to hip height makes it easier to naturally move to the second part of the backswing, when your wrists start hinging upwards with the momentum of the clubhead. Take your time and try to reduce moving parts by forgetting about the clubhead.
Try to just concentrate on moving your hands straight back from their natural starting position. You will get instant feedback telling you if they are in a position to support the clubhead.
2. Remember you can turn your hips!
Keeping the pressure within the framework of your legs is critical as it encourages a naturally good sequence on the downswing.
If, however, you slide your hips outside the width of your feet on the backswing you lose the potential to generate any tension and you need to slide you hips back into position.
A simple thought I sometimes use is to ‘keep the knee bent and turn the pocket’ as I turn my hips into my backswing. Too many amateurs try desperately to turn their upper body and keep their hips from moving, thinking it will give them more power.
3. Keep your hands ahead of the club
One of the biggest leaks of power in anyone’s swing is casting. Casting is when the hands and club start the downswing way too early and you lose the hinge of the wrists, making the arms straighten.
Keeping your wrists hinged for as long as possible on the downswing - and preventing that clubhead from passing them - is essential for delaying the speed and power for just the right time…impact.
4. Don’t lose your posture on the way down
Early extension on the downswing is another common problem. This is when you straighten your body in an effort to rotate.
Understandably, not everyone is as flexible as a tour player but it is important to know that when you do this you are effectively only swinging with your hands and arms, and the momentum of the clubhead is asking questions of your body’s ability to maintain balance.
By maintaining the athletic position you created at address or at least as close as possible, you will see a significant improvement in your ball striking consistency.
5. Clear your left side!
Being 100% committed to delivering all your speed and power at the golf ball can’t be faked and it’s very evident as you go through the impact zone.
This is the time when your right side moves forward to take the position currently occupied by the left. For this to happen, your left side needs to rotate out of the way for the right side to power through.
It generally happens in a sequence of the hips, torso, arms then hands. If you didn’t rotate in this manner to absorb some of the clubhead’s energy, it would pull you towards the target.
Scott Clark is the director of golf at Prestonfield Golf Club. For lessons, call Scott on 0131 667 8597. Follow him on Twitter @ScottClarkPGA