WHO: Luke Donald
WHAT: A 6-iron to 15 feet
WHEN: Championship match of the WGC-Accenture Match Play
WHERE: 198-yard par-3 16th hole at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain
Donald is probably the best iron player on the PGA Tour. The key to his iron play is how he compresses the ball so well at impact. His left wrist is always ahead of the clubhead, and he never flips his wrists and lets the clubhead move ahead of his wrists. Add in his immaculate rhythm and tempo, which never change, and I’m never surprised when he hits perfect clutch shots like the crisp six iron that closed out the championship match against Martin Kaymer.
The Drill: I suggest two drills to learn how to compress the ball. One is dynamic and should be done on a range, while the other drill is static and can be done indoors or outdoors.
1. Put a ball down about eight inches behind the ball you plan to hit. Using a mid to high iron, take the club back to waist height. Be sure to avoid touching the back ball. You might want to pause at this point in the swing. Going down to impact, be sure to again miss the back ball. Doing this will help you learn to keep the wrists ahead of the clubhead, especially through impact.
2. This drill teaches you to simulate the correct impact position and can be done in your living room. Stand perpendicular to the edge of a wall or heavy object on the ground, and lean the clubhead of a mid iron against the bottom of the wall or object. The bottom of the wall or object is where the ball would be in your stance. Now, press your hands forward and rotate your body so that your hips are open to what would be the target. The shaft should appear like it’s learning way forward. (That’s an illusion, because the shaft is actually perfectly in line with your lead arm and pointing straight up to the sky.) This drill puts you in the correct impact position. Try it several times. You should learn not only what the correct impact position looks like, but also what it feels like.
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Jim Suttie teaches at The Club at TwinEagles in Naples, Fla.