The key to hitting accurate approach shots is executing the golf swing fundamentals during your iron swing setup, takeaway, backswing/downswing, impact, and finish.
How you execute the fundamentals during these phases determines how well you hit an iron.
Some professionals who give golf instruction sessions include the transition from backswing to downswing as a separate phase. Making a smooth transition from your backswing to your downswing is critical.
Proper Golf Setup
There’s no reason not to start with a good setup. Flex at the knees, stand firmly on the balls of your feet, bend from your hips, not your back, adopt a straight (but not rigid) back, and balance your weight evenly over both feet.
Think “rock and roll” to remind you that feet serve as a rock through your backswing and roll through your downswing. And don’t overlook the ball position. It’s never farther back than your sternum or farther forward than your left armpit.
It’s critical that you make a good takeaway. Watch golfers who have low golf handicaps. Most will have good takeaways.
Some teachers use the 2-8-12-rule in their golf lessons. During the first two inches of your takeaway, take the club straight back.
From the second inch to the eighth inch, take the club back some more, but don’t break your wrists. This is a natural continuation of your takeaway.
From the eighth inch to the twelfth inch, start breaking your wrist. At this point, the club should be parallel to the ground and the target line. In the rough, you’ll need a slightly steeper takeaway.
Shifting your weight to your back foot is crucial in your backswing. It enables you to make a good coil and prevents you from making a reverse pivot.
So keep until your weight shifts to your back foot. Keep your hands away from your body. At the top of the swing, a straight left arm is ideal but a slightly bent elbow is also acceptable. Your head should be behind the ball.
Make a smooth transition to the downswing. From this position, you’re ready to turn toward the target.
Allow your hands to drop underneath your head as you begin shifting toward your front foot. The club should be directly over your rear shoulder. You should be approaching the ball with a descending blow.
Good golfers know that at impact they need to achieve a “stacked” position to make solid contact.
This position includes a full release of the wrists, a straight left arm (right for left-handers), most of your weight transferred to the front foot, and your hips open.
Contrary to popular belief, the impact position isn’t the same as the setup position. With longer irons, allow for a slower wrist cock. This widens your swing and provides the flatter arc these clubs require.
Your finish tells you a lot about what’s going on during your swing. The correct finish ends with the body weight primarily on the front foot, the club behind you, and your head, chest, and belt buckle facing the target.
You also should be balanced and able to hold that position indefinitely. From your finish position, you can tell two things:
(a) if the majority of your weight has successfully shifted to your front foot, and (b) if your body has fully rotated without excessive sliding through the downswing, which will produce mis-hits.
Driving the ball is only one phase of golf. If you’re serious about improving, you must master your irons, too. A 300-yard drive is worthless if you don’t follow up with an accurate approach shot.
Use the golf tips we’ve provided above to hone your iron swing. It will help you hit more greens in regulation and chop strokes off your golf handicap.
When you get that golf club in your grip, do you ever want simply to smash the ball as hard as you can? It may feel great to put every ounce of your energy into hitting the ball as far as you can, but, just smashing it as hard as you possibly can from the tee is not necessarily going to give you the perfect start to a hole.
If you are out to smash the ball to relieve stress, then more power to you. But, if you want to play a serious round of golf, then putting all your energy into each golf swing is not going to improve your golf game. If you want to improve golf, you are going to need a golf lesson in finesse.
In fact, one of the biggest problems people have with their golf swing is trying to hit the ball as hard as they can. You can have the most powerful smack of the ball on the course, but if the ball is not going where you want it to go, you are going to need golf lessons to improve your golf swing sooner, rather than later.
It is so important not to tense your muscles, as happens when you go for that power shot. You need to lose that tension – loosen up a little – even stretch a little before you swing your club. Relaxing as you take the club for a swing, can help reduce the power and make the swing much smoother.
One tip is to stand with your feet a little closer together – this will reduce the amount of power you can put into the golf swing. Just stop trying too hard to hit the ball with all your might.
It’s essential that you keep a stable center of gravity when you drive the ball. If you do this then your head movement will be kept to an absolute minimum. Just focus on keeping your feet in the same position throughout your golf swing.
Any movement of the body and your head will also move – you lose your focus on the ball and you will change your center of gravity. Imagine your feet are set in cement when you hit the ball.
It is more important, especially if your golf swing is a problem, to use less power and make the whole action as smooth as possible if you want to improve your golf swing.
Relax – let the swing flow – any stiffness in your muscles from trying to hit too hard will likely throw you off balance. You want to keep your center of gravity stable when your club strikes the ball.
Slicing often happens when you hit the ball too high – the wind can take it right or left and into the rough or worse. Try to hit through the center of the ball so that you keep the ball at a lower height than you usually hit it. Hitting under the ball is inviting a slice.
The important thing to remember is to be in control of your shot at all times if you want to be accurate with your golf swing. Hit it cleanly and in the direction you want it to go – the reality is that you will get distance more from the finesse of your golf swing than you will from pure power and strength.
Practice – then build up the speed of your swing – each time hitting the center of the ball. Speed is an element of power, every bit as much as strength. The speed comes only when you are not tensed up, as does accuracy.
If your golf swing is not as smooth as you would like, then the chances are that you are moving your hands during the swing. Go back to basics and keep your head still – even imagine a glass of beer on your head as you swing – this will help.
Again, to recap,
stretch before you take that swing – loosen up any tension or stiffness that you may feel. Stay loose and easy all the way through the swing, but concentrate on keeping your feet planted and your head still. The rest will follow and you will develop a perfect smooth golf swing in no time.
How To Hit Longer Drives
Longer golf drives can be yours in more abundance if you do something very important in your golf swing. Let me explain. In your golf swing, your legs should be doing something very important to help you hit longer drives, which is moving!
I often see the golf swings of amateur golfers where you’d think the golfers were wearing lead boots! Or they have their feet stuck in concrete.
If you don’t move your legs during the golf swing you’ll be costing yourself a lot of distance. Because you’re even reading this I imagine you want to hit the golf ball as far as possible, right?
You must learn to use both your feet and your legs effectively in your golf swing in order to do that. So I’m going to explain to you how to do that and I’ll give you some good drills to help you learn to do it.
But before I get started, let me give you an example of how not using your legs is costing you distance in your golf swing.
To do this I want you to set up a golf shot as you normally would. Before you make your golf swing, however, I want you to put down your golf club pick up the ball, and get ready to throw it.
Then once you’re set I want you to throw the ball as far as you can, but when you do this don’t allow your legs to move at all. Feel as though your feet are stuck to the ground and as you’re throwing the ball your legs are not moving at all.
Once you have done this I then want you to get another ball and throw that ball as well. But this time I want you to use your feet and legs freely as you throw, to help you throw the ball as far as you can.
Just imagine you’re a baseball pitcher. So move your weight back onto your back foot (and you can even lift your front foot off the ground if you’re keen) as you’re taking your arm back, and then quickly move your weight to your front foot and throw the ball and fire your legs and hips and allow your back foot to rise up so at the end of your throw you’re facing the target, your back foot heel is up off the ground and you have used your legs powerfully to help you throw the ball as far as possible.
After doing this compare which ball went the furthest.
Even without doing this, you know that the ball you threw like a baseball pitcher is going to go a lot further than the ball that you didn’t use any leg motion to throw, am I correct?
Well, the same is going to be true in your golf swing. The same universal law applies whether you’re throwing a ball as far as you can, or hitting a golf ball with your golf club as far as you can.
So now you know this, how can you use this information to improve your golf swing?
Ok, first you need to have a clear idea of how your legs should move in the golf swing and that’s what I’m going to explain now.
When you set up to swing a golf club your back leg should have some flex in it. When you swing the flex that is in your back leg should stay pretty much the same all throughout your backswing.
You should not straighten your back leg at all during the backswing because that will promote a reverse pivot, which basically means that the weight is going onto your front foot instead of your back foot – and that is very bad!
So while you’re swinging back you should be keeping your back leg in pretty much the same position that it was in at setup, all throughout your backswing. You should also let your front knee move naturally in, towards your back knee during the backswing. This will just happen naturally though. You don’t need to try and make this happen.
Now to make a powerful transition in your golf swing from your backswing to your downswing you should transfer your weight from your back foot to your front foot.
A great way I have found to do this is to initiate the downswing by moving the front knee toward the target.
However, it’s a good idea when doing this to try and keep the back knee where it was in the backswing because this knee separation creates a lag in the downswing, which helps to create the late hit that every golfer wants because it gives longer golf drives!
Every long hitter in the world does this knee separation and the longest hitters start this knee separation before the backswing has been completed. To help you get this feeling I suggest you do the following.
As you’re getting to the top of your backswing get to a position where you are fully loaded into your right side, and as I’ve already said, I believe that to start your downswing you should do it with your left knee and left hip first.
So as you are about to reach the furthest point going back you should be starting your downswing movement with your left knee first and then your left hip. The feeling should be one of moving in two directions at once for a split second. This is not the easiest thing to do, but with practice, it creates tremendous clubhead speed and you’ll notice a big increase in distance.
Here’s a great drill that teaches you the leg movements in the golf swing that I’m talking about. Get a beach ball and place it between your knees at setup. Then swing back as normal, and to start your downswing you need to separate your knees so that the beach ball falls down, and then swing through normally.
If you master this knee separation move you’ll hit the ball longer than you ever have before, and you’ll be more consistent too. I’m sure you’ll love both of those benefits, won’t you?!
Now the follow-through really is a result of how good the backswing was. So you must concentrate on getting a good solid backswing before you even look at your follow-through.
With that being said it’s a good idea that you have a clear picture of what you should look like at the end of your swing, where your weight should be, and what your feet should be doing – which is what I’m going to give you now.
At the end of your golf swing, almost all of your weight should be on your front foot. Your belt buckle should be pointing towards the target or even to the left of your target. And lastly, but very importantly, your back foot should be almost completely off the ground. It should just be resting on your toe.
Hopefully, now you’ve got a good idea as to how you can best use your feet to get the most power in your golf swing. So I’ll now summarize the points you should work on…
1. During your backswing you should concentrate on keeping your back leg in the same position that it was in, at the address.
2. To start your downswing you should do so with your front knee moving towards the target, attempting to separate the knees.
3. At the finish of your golf swing you should have the majority of your weight on your front foot, with your belt buckle pointing towards the target. Plus your back foot should be upon its toe so you can see all of the spikes in your shoe.
If you follow these points your golf swing will be more powerful and more consistent, and consequently, you’ll have more fun playing golf. I suggest you concentrate on your backswing first, then start on the downswing, and then the follow-through last. But when you go to work on your follow-through here’s something that will help you.
Pose your follow-through so that it’s perfect, then have a swing and attempt to get into the same follow-through position that you just posed.
At the end of every golf swing, you should be able to hold your follow-through until the ball has stopped rolling. You’ll only be able to do this if you have swung within yourself. Lastly, remember a good finish generally means a good shot so get in the habit of holding your follow-through until your ball has stopped moving.
If you do these things you’ll hit longer drives because of your vastly improved golf swing.