I imagine that you, like me and most golfers, when you first played the game saw the process as “sweeping” the ball off the ground with the club head and sending it on its way. This is in fact the case with the woods and of course, the putter. With the other clubs the truth is somewhat different. Much better results can be achieved by hitting down on the ball and taking a divot. For more information on that aspect go to the “hit down on the ball” tip.
The big problem with sweeping the ball off the ground with your irons is that it requires it requires a lot of accuracy to carry off successfully. If your club head path is slightly low you will hit the ground before the ball with disastrous results. If the path is slightly high you will hit the ball with the leading edge of the club which will send it off very low or along the ground. These “thinned” shots never go far and are not much fun to hit.
By hitting down on the ball and taking a divot you increase your chances of hitting a good shot considerably. You will also achieve a better ball flight and more distance. With your shorter irons you will also get backspin and improve your chances of hitting greens and holding the ball on the greens.
Why do you get greater leeway when hitting down and taking a divot? Because the angle of approach is steeper the club face makes contact with the ball well before the leading edge makes contact with the ground. This means that there is some leeway in exactly where on the club face the ball makes contact. This means an acceptable result from shots not hit precisely off the sweet spot. It also means great shots when executed properly.
In the “hit down on the ball tip” I advised that an integral part of hitting down on the ball was to take a divot. In fact many golfers find that if they make the swing with the objective of taking a divot uppermost in their mind they achieve very good results. This might sound strange but can be very effective.
Stand over the ball with a 7 iron and the set up described in” hit down on the ball”. Imagine the divot that will be left after the shot. It will extend from the original ball position forward towards the target. Now make your swing with the express objective of taking that divot. Have the ball in your peripheral vision but ignore it completely. Make sure you are hitting down on the ball. Do this correctly and you will be astonished at the quality of the shot you will produce.
If you have problems, make some swings without a ball and take divots. Make sure your divots are exactly where you intended them to be. As soon as you can do this consistently, introduce a ball and repeat.
The first few times you do this it can take a small leap of faith to make a golf swing without specifically focusing on the ball. Try it, take a divot, you will be surprised.
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