WHO: Bill HaasWHAT: 214-yard three iron to 27 feetWHEN: Final round of the Bob Hope ClassicWHERE: 543-yard par 5 18th hole at PGA West (Palmer course)
Haas is somewhat unusual because he carries a three iron. Lots of Tour players start their iron sets with a four or five and carry a couple of hybrids. The reason players at all levels are ditching long irons is simple: they’re much harder to get up in the air and to hit solidly than long irons.
With his second shot approach at 18, Haas said he took one extra club “in case I mishit it.” Good decision. Haas had 206 to carry the water, a slight downhill lie and he said he was as nervous as he’s ever been on a golf course. Haas made a terrific swing by staying down and over the ball from start to finish, and the stellar shot set up his two-putt birdie that gave him a one-shot victory. Haas was actually lucky to have contacted the ball a bit on the toe of the clubhead, because that helped him from flying over the green.
The tendency on long irons is to raise your body up and out of the shot while attempting to create loft and get the ball airborne. But lifting up doesn’t help. Instead, it hurts the shot because it throws off balance and usually leads to a thin or skulled shot.
To practice long irons, I have people pick a spot on the turf a couple of inches ahead of the ball. Then focus on trying to contact the ground at that spot, instead of hitting the ball. Doing that will help keep your body down and steady as you drive through the ball, especially at impact.(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)