Probably like anyone with a “Z” name, I get a lot of nicknames. The one I secretly like best is Z-Money. It sounds like someone who gets it done under pressure, and that’s big for a tour player. As a kid playing everything, I wanted the ball with the clock running down. I didn’t always score, but I had to be in on the play. One of the cool things about golf is there is a ton of those meaningful moments in every round. The last four or five holes, I love having the chance to stuff an iron shot in there close. Setting up a kick-in birdie with a tournament on the line is as good as it gets.

Here’s what my teacher, Mike Bender, and I have worked on to get me sticking more iron shots;


Getting On Track
A square setup is a great way to start. My hips sometimes get closed, or aimed to the right, which closes my shoulders. So I have my caddie, Damon Green, check in practice. If my hips are square, my shoulders will follow.

Handle High
At address, I have the sensation that my arms and the club are in almost a straight line. They’re not really, but that feel clicks with me. It gets the butt of the club pointing at my belt. From there, my hands can start back on line.

Zach Johnson
Getting Square & Handle High

Crank The Turn
I try to get as much turn as I can, and not just with the driver. A good thought for me is, Back to the target at the top. When I make a full turn, my hands get deeper to the inside, which Mike and I think is the ideal swing plane.

All About The Space
Look at the gap between my knees. It means I’m turning my hips big time, not sliding them or holding them back from turning. To max out my shoulder turn, I need to turn my hips freely. This knee gap is a great checkpoint.

Zach Johnson
Crank The Turn & All About The Space


Hands Down
One swing thought I always use is, Drop the hands straight to the ball. In other words, from a full windup, I feel like my hands make a beeline to the ball as my shoulders stay turned. That creates the perfect angle into impact.

Rolling With It
I like how my right foot isn’t way up off the ground; it’s just following my body. That tells me my hips aren’t opening too fast, which would pull the foot up. My main focus here is getting my arms and the club back down and through the ball.

Zach Johnson
Hands Down & Rolling With It