The Importance of Controlling Trajectory
If you want to control your distance with iron shots there are two things that you need to do. The first and most obvious thing is you have to make consistent center face contact. The next thing you have to do is control the trajectory of your shots. I’d like to spend a bit of time talking about this important skill. One of the things I see my amateur players doing that hurts their distance control is adding excessive loft to the club on iron shots. My general rule is the more loft the club has, the lower you should attempt to hit the ball. See the picture below of Nick Watney with some forward shaft lean on an iron shot which helps him control trajectory and a model adding loft to the club which is BAD.
By utilizing technology at the Treetops Golf Academy, we are able to see the effect this club movement can have on the ball flight. Because there was so much shaft lean away from the target on this shot, the launch angle ended up being 22 degrees which is very high for a 7 iron, with PGA Tour average being about 16 degrees.
Now, see the same model player with a side by side comparison of impact hitting the same high shot and a lower one with some forward shaft lean similar to Nick Watney. (Example #3).
Lastly, because the model player was able to lean the club shaft towards the target and control the trajectory of this 7 iron shot the launch angle went from 22 degrees to 15 degrees. (Example #4).
Now the model player’s impact position looks more like Nick Watney! (Example 5).
What can you do to achieve this?
Practice my punch shot drill. Set up with your feet slightly closer together than normal. Practice hitting shots making a conservative effort to get your weight to your target side foot at impact feeling like you are squeezing the ball off the turf. It should feel like the ball squishes between the club face and the ground. The ball should come out nice and low.
The Treetops Golf Academy is proud to be one of only 4 golf academies in Michigan to be recognized as a Golf Channel Academy, a network of world-class coaches and teaching facilities dedicated to improving your game. It is the hands-on coaching extension of the cable network’s instruction programming, offering personalized one-on-one and group coaching that is among the highest quality instruction available anywhere. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or highly skilled, competitive golfer, we can improve your game.
Joe Charles, PGA Treetops Director of Instruction