In order to see the type of difference in your game that you need to score, you MUST have a quality level of iron play throughout your round. Quality iron play begins with a well struck and properly flighted shot. Proper ball flight and distance control is essential to the type of predictability you will need when improving your game.
Unfortunately most amateurs do not excel in the ball striking department with their irons. Many if not most develop a scooping technique to hit their iron shots thus affecting ball flight and distance control. This is primarily due to the clubhead reaching the golf ball before the hands, and providing more of a “slapping” motion rather than tight crisp contact.
So what should you do? First, begin with a proper set-up that places the hands in a position IN FRONT of the golf ball. While good ball position is essential to this (just inside the left knee), it’s the position of the hands that will make all the difference. Why? Because in nearly every situation the hands MUST lead the clubhead through the hitting area. This will ensure an angle of decent back into the ball that is proper, allowing the leading edge of the golf club to make contact with the ball first.
Maintaining proper posture is also an important way to ensure good ball striking with your irons. Staying down and through the ball as the body rotates through the shot keeps the clubhead down through impact ensuring a solid strike. This will be most evident when you analyze your divots, and notice where that divot actually begins. Good contact starts when the clubhead makes contact with the ball first and the divot is out in front or after the ball. Poor contact occurs when the divot is behind the ball and either skips into or scoops the ball. This is a problem that must be addressed immediately. By maintaining proper posture through the shot you will improve your contact and have a better feeling of compressing the ball.
One other sure way of better contact with your irons is with good foot work in your golf swing. It is often understood that a good transfer of weight through the ball will help with your contact. But few understand the importance of good foot work, and how this affects weight transfer through the ball. Keeping balanced and centered on both feet on the backswing and follow through will help the player to pivot from the right side to the left through the ball. It further allows the player to feel like they can “attack the ball” with a descending angle while continuing to rotate through the ball. This feeling is important to speed and stability that every player must feel in order to become a better iron player.
In the end, better iron play begins from the ground up with good footwork, good posture, weight shift and a slightly descending angle through the ball. Couple this with solid rotation and a strong finish and you will see a vast improvement in the ball striking of your irons.