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Golf Tips: Ten Essentials To Solid Iron Play

By Jack Moorehouse

Long drives and clutch putts grab most of the attention these days. The media tracts PGA players who smash 300-yard drives or drain 15-foot putts to win tournaments. These skills are where the money is in golf. But PGA pros and god players with low golf handicaps know that solid iron play is almost as important to achieving low scores as long drives and clutch putts.

What are the keys to good iron play—consistency and accuracy. Common elements of all great iron players, they are the ultimate objective of nearly every golf lesson session given. They're also what players should strive for during practice sessions. Below are ten essentials to achieving accuracy and consistency, and driving down golf handicaps. Use them like a checklist to see how many you implement in your swing.

Check Your Setup
The setup position is a vital but often overlooked element in good iron play. It's also among the most ignored fundamentals in golf by weekend players. The setup is one of the few things in golf we have complete control of, so there's no reason for not getting it right. All good iron players have setup routines for every iron shot. And while the routines may be different, they all have the same goal—to put them in the best position to hit the golf ball.

Three essentials to a good set up are:

(1) good posture,
(2) consistent ball position, and
(3) proper address.

The shaft's length determines your posture. The longer the shaft the father away from the ball and the more upright you should stand. Ball position, to a large extent, dictates angle of attack: the shorter the club, the steeper the angle of attack. Some players change ball positions with each club. Others employ one ball position. Whatever you do, be consistent. Maintaining a proper address position—feet/shoulders in parallel alignment, weight evenly distributed, hands over, or just ahead of, the ball—is also vital.

Build a Repeating Swing
The more we can repeat the same swing, the more often we'll achieve a predictable result—the secret to lower golf handicaps. To build a repeatable swing, we must:

(4) stay connected and
(5) set the club on the correct plane.

Staying connected is a common factor found among all good iron players. The shoulders, arms, hands, and club should all move away from the ball in unison. Hinging or cocking the wrists sets the club on the correct plane, which keeps the clubface square to the path of the swing.  

Two other important essentials in building a repeatable swing are:

(6) swinging to the top of the slot and
(7) retaining power in the swing.

If the club's shaft is horizontal to the ground, it should be parallel to the target line. The angle of the club should match the angle of the forearm while maintaining the original spine angle and head position.  Settle the weight smoothly on the front side and start unwinding the upper body. The right elbow should be dropped down to the side.

Concentrate on Impact
Impact is the moment of truth when it comes to clean, crisp iron shots. Everything in the swing is designed to be channeled into this moment. The quality of the shot determines the quality of the impact. The essentials are:

(8) collect the ball and
(9) open the shoulders at impact.

Iron shots must be struck with a descending blow, if you're to hit them accurately and consistently. A good image to have in mind is to "collect" the ball, not hit the ball. The hips, body, and shoulders should be slightly open at impact. This creates the needed for the arms to release the ball down the correct path.

Swinging to a Balanced Finish
Although you can't influence ball flight once you've hit it, the follow-through is still important.  Concentrating on certain post-impact positions during the swing often encourages improvements in the swing itself. The essential here is:

(10) extension.

Try to stay with the ball as long as is comfortable though impact. Drive the right shoulder past the chin. This is known as extension. The swing should finish with the spine straight and the back shoulder over the front foot. Maintaining balance is critical for good iron play.

Have a friend review your swing or record your swing to see if you are incorporating these 10 essential elements in your swing. If you're not, it may be why you're not as consistent or as accurate with your irons as you’d like to be. Golf lessons will help, but they're not enough. You still need to practice hitting those irons, if you want to lower that golf handicap and reach your full potential as a player.

Jack Moorehouse is the author of the best-selling book "How To Break 80 And Shoot Like The Pros." He is NOT a golf pro, rather a working man that has helped thousands of golfers from all seven continents lower their handicap immediately. He has a free weekly newsletter with the latest golf tips, golf lessons and golf instruction.

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