Tips for Hitting Long Irons Better
The biggest tip and takeaway from today’s golf swing video lesson is focusing on angle of attack.
The angle (path) you bring the club down to the golf ball at impact, plays a huge roll in the quality of contact and height of your golf ball.
If you are hitting fat, chunky golf shots taking big divots, then you probably have an angle of attack issue. You’re coming into your golf shots at too steep of an angle and this is why it digs deeper into the turf compared to a more shallow, less steep golf swing motion.
Slicing is also an indication of too steep of a swing plane. Slicers tend to come over the top which is an outward to inward motion of the shoulders and upper body, causing them to chop down on the ball rather than sweep it off the ground.
Having a more rounded golf swing with a shallower swing plane, allows you to sweep the ball off the tee easier and make better contact with the ball on the ground when hitting long irons.
You’re still coming down into the ball on a downward angle of attack which is key with irons. This downward angle of attack is what combines with the iron face (loft angle) to pop the ball up off the ground into the air.
With driver, we want to sweep the ball off the tee so we swing with more of an upward angle of attack. The driver is moving upwards as it gets to the golf ball but this only works because the ball is teed up.
With irons, the ball is on the ground so we can’t hit with an upward angle of attack. This would cause us to chunk behind the ball.
Keep this key difference in mind when swinging driver vs long irons. Long irons need a downward swing angle but not too step that it affects your contact and ball striking.
Start by filming your swing to see what type of swing plane you’re on. Is your swing pretty vertical and steep? Or is your swing more rounded where the club travels around your body on a flatter circular plane?
The Proper Set Up for Long Irons for Better Ball Striking
Try these key checkpoints when setting up to hit long irons.
- Level shoulders, don’t tilt like we do with the driver
- Ball more forward of center in our stance
- Comfortable grip on the club, not too tight
- Weight more neutral on both feet, not leaning back or forward
Shallow Out Your Divots
Practice swinging the golf club more around your body keeping the hands lower than normal on the takeaway. A common fault of steep golf swings is lifting the hands up into the air vertically too quickly and too steeply during the backswing.
Make some practice swings, swinging the club around your body like a baseball swing to understand what a flatter swing feels like.
You’ll start to notice you take shallower divots when the swing plane gets flatter. Long irons tend to strike the golf ball better when swung flatter. Short irons are better suited for steeper swings to help them hit the ball high with high loft.
Start By Analyzing Your Setup and Turn Back
Imagine a straight line running down your chest to the ground between your two feet in the middle of your stance. This line is the line the body will rotate around as we turn back and rotate the shoulders 90 degrees.
Be careful about swaying backwards with the hips. The turn back is a rotation around the center line, not swaying.
The reason swaying is not good for the golf swing is that it shifts too much weight to the back of the stance and all this weight has to be shifted back on the downswing, which can lead to timing and inconsistency issues.
It can also lead to the golf club bottoming out too far behind the swing if the body isn’t transferring the weight back forward properly, and this can lead to chunked golf shots.
As we rotate back around the sternum center line we drew in the video above, you’ll feel a little pressure on your back leg as some weight is shifted but not too much.
On the downswing, start to unwind the hips and let the body weight get more forward as you come through the hitting zone and into the follow through.
Hit Down on the Golf Ball
You’ll hear this phrase “hit down on the golf ball” quite often by golf instructors.
What it means is getting that golf club to come down on the downswing at a downward angle of attack into the back of that golf ball, hitting golf ball first, then taking a divot.
The opposite would be trying to hit up on the golf ball and this swinging up with an upward angle of attack into the ball is only meant for Driver swings. It is not good for irons.
Irons require the club to come down at a downward angle to create crisp contact with the golf ball, and it’s what allows you to hit ball first, then take a divot after the ball.
While hitting down at a downward angle of attack is ideal for striking your golf irons pure, be careful about having too steep of an angle of attack on the golf ball. This can lead to chunks and very deep divots, costing you distance and consistency issues.