long irons

Golf fundamentals – How to set up to the ball

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practice golfGetting into the correct position as you address the ball will help you strike the ball more consistently. Your
aim, ball position and posture are essential parts of the golf swing that cannot be overlooked. In this post we look at the correct set up that will help you achieve a better address position and more consistent ball striking.

Your goal should be a square position to the ball at address. Lay a golf club on the ground to act as your target line. Now stand parallel to the club with your feet, hips and shoulder square to that target line. This is what we mean by a square orthodox stance. Many golfers fail to get into this position simply by not having a good pre-shot routine that will help them get into the correct setup position. Please look through our back catalogue for posts on developing a good pre-shot routine.

Next we want to talk about ball position. The correct ball position can vary depending on the type of shot you are trying to play. For example if you are trying to hit a shot with a higher than normal trajectory you may position the ball slightly further in your stance to help achieve an ascending strike and higher ball flight. Or you may want to play the ball further back in your stance to hit a lower than usual shot. For this post we are going to assume that you are playing a standard shot with a standard trajectory for that club.

Lets start with the driver. This club is almost always played off a tee peg so we are trying to hit this shot on the upswing. To help us achieve this ascending hit we must position the ball forward in our stance in-line with our left heel. This will encourage the correct strike on the ball and a high flying shot.

As we move into our fairway woods and longer irons we move the ball slightly back in our stance, just forward of centre, two or three ball widths. These clubs are struck with a sweeping motion so the ball should be positioned just forward of our sternum where our swing reaches its lowest point.

Our shorter irons are positioned further back still, around the centre of our stance. This will encourage a ball then turf contact and apply the correct spin on the ball as it is compressed against the ground.

What about your weight distribution? Many golfers ask whether their weight should be favouring their left or right foot. This is not something that you should consciously do. However, you will feel that you are more behind the ball with a driver and that your weight is more on your right foot. Also when you are playing shorter irons you may feel that you are favouring your left foot because of your smaller width stance.

The set up is much more important than many golfers give credit. If you are finding that your shots are inconsistent then go back to basics with your set up to see if there are some bad habits that are creeping into your game. At your next friendly round of golf ask a friend to video you with your cell phone so you can analyse your set up and find any faults. A good set up is something that the best players in the world work on regularly. Start dedicating some time at the driving range to your set up. Only with constant repetition will you start to build muscle memory that you can take on the course and play your best golf

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The long Iron, friend or foe? How to strike long irons consistently well

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We have seen many advancements in golf club technology over the last few years, especially trying to help the golfer hit smooth, consistent long irons. For many golfers they have decided that the answer to the questions in the title of this article, friend or foe? for them is definitely foe. And they have moved onto other options like rescue clubs ( see article – How a rescue club can save your score)

However, for many golfers the ability to hit long irons consistently well is vitally important for them to play golf well. For example if your course has some particularly long par 3’s that will take a longer iron to reach them. Or you have some short par 4’s and would like another safer alternative off the tee. Then a longer iron could be a good option. In this post we will discuss how to hit consistent, good long iron shots and give you some drills to take to the practice ground.

Firstly let’s start with ball position. Your longer irons should be positioned just inside your left heel. This means that the ball is slightly further forward than your middle irons. We use this froward ball position to create a sweeping motion during the swing. It is very difficult to compress a longer iron and should be left to the pro’s. Try laying down a club on the ground when you are on the practice tee, lay it along the line of your left heel with the butt of the club where you would position the ball. This will help you get a consistent ball position for your longer irons.

Next we want you to think of tempo. Many golfers think that the longer irons need to be helped along with a faster swing. In fact, the swing should be the same for all shots. A good exercise is to count your swing one and two. One being the backswing, and is the transition, and two is your down swing. This drill will help you maintain good tempo throughout your swing and avoid you swinging too fast.

Be committed. Your longer irons more than any other club need a positive strike to get them airborne. This means that a gentle three quarter swing will usually end in a poor shot. When you select your three or four iron out of your bag. Think ‘positive strike on the ball’, select your target, go through your pre-shot routine and then commit to your swing. Try this on the practice tee, getting your three iron out of your bag, playing your shot, putting the club back and then repeating. This is a great drill to keep you focused on your swing thoughts and shot in hand.

Be aware of the flight of your longer irons and play to their strengths. What we mean by this is if you are looking for a high flying, softer landing shot then a three iron is not the club to choose. However, if you are wanting a more penetrating  ball flight that will roll on landing and chase up to the green, then a three or four iron may be the club to choose. You need to visualise the shot you want to play and select the appropriate club to do the job.

A final thought. If you want to hit your longer irons with a lower flight, maybe into a strong headwind then choke down on the club a little. This will result in a lower ball flight and usually a straighter shot ..

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The Golf Talk team