Clean contact! A new and improved solution for launching crisp, clean irons

April 13, 2017

If pure iron shots are few and far between for you, it’s time to scrub your old swing. Here’s Martin Chuck, one of GOLF’s new Top 100 Teachers, to show you how to dial in your posture and attack angle so you can make sweet-spot contact with all your irons.

With today’s driver technology, you can miss a little—even a lot— and still find the fairway. Irons aren’t as forgiving. Missing the sweet spot usually means missing the green and often finding those pesky bunkers and creeks. At my schools and clinics, catching shots flush is the top priority. It makes the game easier and a whole lot more fun. The trick? It comes down to learning not just how impact takes place in the swing but where and when it occurs. Start with the moves at right. Mastering these simple adjustments will turn messy, imperfect contact into good clean fun.


Most weekend players think the low point of the swing occurs at impact. Not true. This incorrect notion is what often causes thin shots. To really pure it, the club needs to descend into impact—and then keep descending, bottoming out a few inches on the target side of the ball. Use the visual at right to groove the proper feel.

TRY THIS: At address, picture a clock beneath your feet, with 12 o’clock under your left shoulder, as shown. The curved edges of the clock give you a good visual for the arc that the club continues to travel on through impact. (Yep, your swing traces a circle!) The bigger picture? Position the ball at 12:30 and make sure your swing bottoms out at high noon. It’s this “down, through and around” movement of the clubhead through impact that “squeezes” the ball for Tour-caliber contact.


To further encourage a downward strike, picture the western hemisphere overlaid on the ball. On mid- and long irons, try at contact to press the sweet spot against a location even with Brazil. On shorter irons, aim even farther south (Chile is lovely this time of year). Just avoid contact above the equator. The top of the world leads to topped shots!


Correctly swinging down and through the ball requires your arms to fully extend at impact—tough to do if you’re hunched over at address. Stand more erect with your arms hanging loose, and get tall enough so that the sole of the club hovers slightly above the turf. Imagine that the sole rests on the back of a ladybug that’s crawled up behind the ball. This easy setup change hammers home a big key: Though the club has reached the ball, it still has to keep moving downward.