Hit It Sweet From The Start

If you’re like many golfers, you can’t always get to the range before playing. Your schedule just doesn’t permit it. So you tend to feel stiff at the start of a round. And even when you do make the range, you may still feel tight on the first hole. Nonetheless, you hit a good first drive.

You’re about 170 yards from the hole and in the fairway. Now what? Will you be able to hit an iron to the green? Below is an exercise that will prep you for the iron shot. Here are the six keys to this exercise:

  1. Take your address position
  2. Cock the club head straight up
  3. Take the club back by bending your wrists
  4. Check for wrinkles in your wrist
  5. Go back to address and swing
  6. The exercise warms up your wrist hinge

If you hinge your wrists properly during your takeaway, chances are good you’ll start your swing smoothly. Take your regular address position with your iron of choice. Cock the clubhead straight up and down until the shaft is just short of horizontal.

Take the club back by bending your right wrist and bowing your left until the shaft is parallel left of your target line (right for right-handers). (You should see wrinkles across the back of your right wrist.) Go back to your address position and hit the ball. Try to get your wrists in the same position as you did above. The exercise takes only a few seconds, so you should be able execute it quickly before swinging. You can probably run through it while the other guys are hitting. If it’s done correctly, the exercise improves your rhythm and helps you hit it sweet from the start.

Recovering From Trouble

If you’re like some weekend golfers, you’re struggling to get rid of a slice. So why would you want to know how to hit one on-demand? That’s easy. It can save you strokes and help you make more pars. Let’s say you drive one off the right into the woods. Instead of punching out like you normally do, leaving you miles from the green, slicing it hard right gets your ball rolling on the fairway and puts you back in business.

Below are five keys to hitting a hard right-to-left slice:

1. Aim your body about 20 yards left of target

2. Point your club about 10 yards right of toe line

3. Turn your hands well to the left on the grip

4. Make your normal swing

5. Hold the clubface open through impact

To hit a hard slice when in trouble, you must make adjustments. At address, aim your body 20 yards left of target, point the clubface 10 yards to the right of your toe line, and turn your hands well to the left on your grip (right for left-handers).

These adjustments add loft to your shot. To hit the ball your normal 7-iron distance, use your 4-iron. Make your normal swing, but hold the clubface open through impact. When you block the clubface’s rotation like this, you create a glancing blow that puts sidespin on the ball.

You know you’ve done it right if your clubface points to the sky in your follow-through. This shot can get you out of trouble, but you must keep two things in mind. First, check your stance. The ball jumps hard right on contact, so you have to be angled correctly.

Second, check the trees. This shot takes off much higher than your usual punch out, so look for overhanging branches. Slicing off the tee is bad. But slicing from the trees can help you get back on track after a bad shot and save more pars.

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