Tee It Up
Tee Shots and Iron Shots Require Different Club Movements
In past columns, we’ve talked about controlling slices and hooks with your driver and adding distance to your tee shots. Assuming you have practiced these concepts and are now finding the fairway more often, let’s move on to getting your ball from the fairway onto the green.
Ever wonder why some days you hit your driver well, but can’t seem to make those irons work? And on other days, the driver misbehaves, but your irons seem dialed in? There is a reason for that: hitting a tee ball and hitting an iron shot require different movements of the golf club. Most likely, you are using the same club movement for both shots.
Your driver should swing through the impact zone on a relatively level arc through the ball, while your irons should make contact with the ball while moving in a downward direction, taking a divot in the turf after you strike the ball. The bottom of the swing arc on iron shots is four to five inches after the initial contact with the ball. While it sounds counter-intuitive, you must swing down with your irons to make the ball go up. This downward motion of the club does not change the requirements of striking the ball in the center of the clubface and having the clubface match the direction of the swing—hopefully at the target—as mentioned in previous articles.
The best way to implement this “ball-before-turf” concept is to practice small and slow swings with a wedge, concentrating on contacting the ball before hitting the turf. As you become proficient with this small movement, gradually increase the size of your swing until you can make this downward strike with a full swing.