Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Golf Digest - PHOTOS BY JD CUBAN

Once the ball is in the fair­way, it’s time to put a good swing on my ap­proach shot to get a look at birdie. Although the ba­sic me­chan­ics of the iron swing are sim­i­lar to the driver, there are some dif­fer­ences. Namely, you want to hit down in­stead of hit­ting up. Here’s what I do on my iron shots:

to the green

My ball po­si­tion with the irons is fur­ther back than with my driver, but it’s still for­ward of cen­tre. Mov­ing the ball back like this nat­u­rally puts more weight on my front foot, so I’m more over the ball. That’s a clas­sic iron po­si­tion.

In the take­away, I think about hav­ing good width, but my arms don’t travel as far as they do in a driver swing. I like to feel a nice, tight windup to the top – a full body turn but a shorter arm swing. Another key is to stay more cen­tred, with­out much lat­eral move­ment. This makes it eas­ier to keep all the parts in sync.

As with the driver, a good key is to feel your weight load into your right leg. But make sure the pres­sure stays on the in­step of your right foot. If you shift to the out­side, you move off the ball, and that makes it tough to get back at im­pact.

When I swing down, I feel as if I’m lead­ing the club­head with my hands un­til just be­fore im­pact. I know I’ve hit it well when my left arm feels real solid at the low point of the swing. (The low point is just past im­pact, at the end of the divot.) In the photo at far left, you can see how my left arm and the club are in line as the ball launches off the face.

iron prac­tice

The po­si­tion of the club­face at im­pact dic­tates where the ball starts, and it be­gins with the setup. I try to go with clear tar­gets. If there’s some­one wear­ing an or­ange sweater two me­tres left of the flag, that’s what I’m ze­ro­ing in on.

To aim, I draw an imag­i­nary line from my tar­get to the ball ( left). Then I choose an in­ter­me­di­ate tar­get on that line about two me­tres in front of me. I square the club to the shorter tar­get, then take my stance. Prac­tise that at the range, and make it part of your rou­tine.

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