Approach Shots

Use this simple drill to sharpen your iron play in no time

justin thomas swings

Everyone loves a high, towering shot with an iron.

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All golfers love high, towering iron shots. In an attempt to hit them, however, they end up hanging out on their back foot and scooping the ball in a desperate attempt to launch the ball into the air. The problem is it doesn’t work: At best you’ll get a high, weak shot with no penetration. At worst, you’ll get thins and chunks with no power or consistency. 

To get the most out of your iron game, you need to create a descending blow on the ball, which creates needed backspin to send the ball skyward. A simple visual cue I like to use with students who struggle with hanging back is to place an alignment rod or club a few inches inside their trail foot, perpendicular to the target line. You don’t need to focus on the rod too much, but you should have a general awareness of where your body is in relation to it. 

Christian Hafer

Your goal is to make sure the center of your torso is ahead of the alignment rod as you come into impact. This places more of your weight forward and positions your hands ahead of the ball — two keys for a Tour-esque descending blow and solid contact. It’s a simple swing feeling you can do for a few minutes on the range and bring to the course to pepper the flag all day. 

Claude Harmon III is the host of’s “Off Course” podcast and the director of instruction at the Butch Harmon Floridian in Palm City, Fla. 

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