If you have trouble making solid contact with your irons and frequently leave your approach shots short and right, your release may be the problem. Many golfers strangle the grip, which keeps the face from turning over through impact and leads to a weak ball flight. Learn to let the toe rotate over the heel. Do it right and you’ll hit the ball a full club-length longer. Here’s how it’s done.
SPEED UP THE TOE
Lay the handle diagonally across the base of your fingers, so that you don’t grip the club in your palm. This makes it easier to hinge and unhinge your wrists and rotate the clubhead more effortlessly. As you swing, you should feel the toe of the clubhead rotate past the heel, beating it to the ball. When the shaft reaches the midway point in your follow-through (i.e., when it’s parallel to the ground), the toe should point to the sky, with your right arm fully extended, as if you were shaking hands with the target.
Solid distance with your irons starts with your grip. The shaft should sit along the base of your fingers, not in your palm. This lets your wrists hinge and unhinge so that you can “release” the clubhead through impact. Do it right and the toe will point skyward.
DRILL: WORKIN’ 9 TO 3
Grab your 7-iron and swing the club halfway back (to 9:00). Let your wrists hinge naturally—don’t force it. At this point, check that the toe of the clubhead points at the sky. Now hit the ball and abbreviate your follow-through so that your hands finish at 3:00. Again, the toe should point skyward, which means that the clubface has rotated into a closed position. Practice hitting balls with this 9-to-3 swing. You’ll be surprised by the power you can create with such a short swing, all because you made a full, toe-up to toe-up release.
To release the clubhead correctly, practice swinging the club back and forth from the 9:00 position in your backswing to the 3:00 position in your follow-through. At both points, the toe of the club should point at the sky.