Generally speaking, avoid trying to hit your short irons hard. The more aggressively you swing, the more height you’re likely to create with those lofted clubs, so the ball will tend to go a shorter distance. If you’re lucky, you might get to the front of the green – that’s why you see so many approach shots come up short of the flag. There’s a much more effective and reliable way to hit your short irons. Start by following these simple steps.
1. Make The Smart Choice
Club selection is Step One to controlling distance. Let’s say you’re 80 metres out, and you know that’s the maximum you can hit your sand wedge. Instead of pulling that club, take a longer one, like your gap or pitching wedge, to hit the shot solid.
2. Grip Down, Stand Narrow
To limit how far the ball flies with the longer club, grip down an inch and stand with your feet closer together than normal. These two adjustments will help you gear down, which should prevent you from hitting the less-lofted club over the green.
3. Shorten Your Swing
There’s no need to make a big turn off the ball or finish with the club wrapped around your body. Instead, shorten the swing. Feel as if you’re making a backswing half as long as standard, and finish with the club still in front of your body.
4. Don’t Try To Force It
Resist the urge to swing hard. There should be no appreciable effort to get the ball to the hole. Just make a smooth and rhythmic motion. The ball will come off the club lower and more accurately, so your next shot will be a makable putt.
– David Leadbetter operates 25 golf academies worldwide.