There are easy practice drills you can use to hit irons effectively and improve almost immediately. Try these simple tips and you’ll feel solid contact with nice straight ball flight.
Hitting irons can be easy…here’s how!
Hitting Irons for Beginners
The… 1 / 2 / 3… Swing Speed Drill
If you’re a beginner and you start hitting your irons this can be a very effective drill. This is a great drill for beginners it’s also a drill you’ll be able to use for a lifetime. It’s an equally great drill for advanced players to re-establish timing, fluidity and feel.
Golf Swing speed 3
Swing speed 3 would be considered a full swing with full effort.
Golf Swing speed 2
Swing speed 2 would be half a swing with approximately 50% effort level. So 50% effort of a full swing means you’ll have to do a lot of relaxing in order to eliminate the 50% effort.
This can still be a full-length swing as far as how far the golf club travels on back swing and downswing. The effort level however is dramatically reduced. If you hit your pitching wedge 100 yards as an example. With the 2 speed drill you want to have the same full swing motion but only hit the ball 50 yards.
Golf Swing speed 1
Swing speed 1 is a very short swing with the club head never going above your belt line on the back swing or follow through. With swing speed 1 you want to restrict the length of the club movement as well. It’s important to keep the club shaft or club head at or just below your belt line.
If you’re 2 speed hits the ball 50 yards you want the swing speed 1 to hit the ball 25 yards. With the length of swing being belt high to belt high it will be very easy to hit the ball much more than 25 yards.
Keep the effort level down. This swing is slow and soft with a high level of focus on proper club face rotation. It’s important not to go beyond the checkpoints so you can become very familiar with correct club face positioning.
Relaxing makes everything better in golf
You’ll have to do a lot of internal relaxation throughout your entire body, particularly relax your arms and hands extensively. When you relax out everything extensively you’re doing this in an effort to limit the ball flight to only 25 yards. Point being, you’ll have to make a concerted effort to relax completely otherwise the ball will go too far.
This is an exercise designed to learn precise club face rotation through sight and feel, not to hit the ball any distance.
It will take discipline on your part to maintain the belt high to belt high swing length.
It will take a very relaxed effort to let the club swing back gently to belt high. The golf club head and relaxed arms then drop gently on the downswing. Remain completely relaxed through impact and relax to finish at belt high.
Put your golf ball on a tee
If you can, find a grass tee practice facility. Tee up about six balls in a row about 6 inches apart on a short tee so the ball sits just a little off the ground. You can also do this 1 speed drill indoors.
Use the pitching wedge for this drill and take your set up position to the first ball.
You’ll want to do many reps of the 1 speed drill with your irons.
You want to get in your basic set up position and start with swinging the golf club at a 1 speed.
Toe up to toe up clubface drill
You may have heard of the toe up swing drill. When you’re completely relaxed you should be able to get the true feel of the toe up drill.
Pay attention to the bottom leading edge of the iron you’re using. Meaning when you swing the club the leading edge will be the first edge of the clubface to contact the grass. The leading edge when you’re looking at your clubhead in your set up position should draw a line to the center between you’re feet.
Another way to look at it is, the toe of the club is pointing directly away from you. The heel of the club pointing directly between your feet again would indicate a square clubface at address.
If you are unsure, youtube a golf video showing a square clubface at address for clarity.
What is a square clubface in golf?
When you swing the club with the 1 speed your main focus is to watch the club face movement. When you watch the clubface movement you want to monitor the clubface leading edge or toe of the club.
The toe of the club in the start position is pointing directly away from you.
In the backswing when you get to belt high with the club shaft, the toe will be pointing directly skyward.
The clubface will return back to the impact position via a very relaxed arm and hand movement.
The toe of the club once again will be pointing directly away from you.
The golf club will continue it’s swinging motion through impact and finish at belt high with the club shaft pointing directly at your target.
The toe of the club once again will be pointing directly toward the sky.
This 1 speed golf swing will be the key to all your successes going forward. Try not to advance to speed 2 until you feel you’ve mastered speed one.
How to master speed 1 golf swing
The proof is in the pudding so to speak. In this case the proof is in the results.
You’ll know when you mastered speed 1 because the golf ball will come off the clubface in perfect direction.
The feel of the impact even though it’s such a small swing will feel perfectly struck with dead center impact on the clubface.
Toe up drill checkpoints
There are four checkpoints for the toe up drill:
First checkpoint is at address the toe of the club should be pointing directly away from you.
Second checkpoint is at belt high on the backswing where the toe of the club points skyward.
Third checkpoint and most important by far is the return of the club to impact where the toe again points directly away from you. Meaning of course the club face is square at impact.
Fourth and final checkpoint is at belt high on the follow-through where the toe of the club again points skyward.
Feel the swinging of the golf club
When your golf club is in motion at speed 1 it’s time to focus.
This is a great exercise to try to feel the club swinging freely and slowly while monitoring the clubface. When the golf club is swinging freely and slowly, feel your entire being in the ultimate state of relaxation.
Remember you’re not trying to hit the ball any distance at all with this drill. In fact you’re making attempts likely to shorten the distance. This drill can provide you with a good basis for relaxation and more importantly get you in touch with the swinging of the golf club and feel the gentle rotation of the clubface.
It’s important to stay with the 1 speed drill until you are highly proficient at it. Once you become proficient at the 1 speed the 2 and 3 speed become much easier. In fact once you’ve mastered 1 speed you are well on your way to success.
Relaxation allows you to feel the golf club
When you can feel the swinging of the golf club head, you’re relaxed.
When you can’t feel the golf club swing back and forth you’re a bit too tense.
Relaxation gives the golf club head weight. If you’re sufficiently relaxed you should feel the weight of the clubhead swinging freely back-and-forth.
The goal being, to have the clubhead swinging freely back-and-forth and feeling the weight of the clubhead as it swings. Try to do this also in a continuous motion without stopping.
Watch and feel the clubface pass through each checkpoint with a perfectly square club face.
Mastering a short golf swing
What have you accomplished when you’ve mastered the short golf swing at 1 speed?
It may not sound like much but the skills you’ve learned in this 1 speed swing are quite profound.
You’ve learned to set up to the ball with the square clubface.
Your demeanor is now relaxed in your address position and will remain so while you swing the clubhead to backswing impact and into finish.
You’re able to monitor correct clubface position at your backswing belt high position.
When your club head swings back effortlessly towards impact you’re able to feel and see your club face at square at impact.
The clubhead continues on to your belt high checkpoint at finish with a square clubface.
That’s some good stuff right there!!
Key to the Toe up golf swing drill
The key to the toe up drill is two-fold.
One important aspect of this drill is the effortless nature of the swinging of the club. The swinging of the club should feel rhythmic and free of any tension. The club head should feel almost as though it’s swinging itself, your hands holding on just for the ride. It should feel like a free and flowing movement.
From the static start position of set up to your backswing checkpoint. A free and fluid movement of the club occurs passing through impact to a soft finish.
Second important aspect while the clubface is swinging freely and flowing beautifully. Is to Monitor the square clubface at the start position then backswing checkpoint, again square at impact checkpoint and finish position checkpoint.
Remember never swing the golf club past belt high on either side.
Common errors on the speed one drill
There are a few common mistakes made with this 1 speed drill.
- swing length is too long, do not go beyond belt high on either side
- You exert Force on the downswing and try to hit the ball too hard
- Stiffness within the movement rather than fluidity.
- Not monitoring the clubface to be correct and square at every checkpoint.
- Advance to swing speed 2, too quickly, stay with speed 1 for days or weeks if necessary.
Graduating to swing speed 2
Once you have a fantastic feel for the swinging of the golf club and you see and feel the clubface remaining square at each checkpoint it’s time to move on.
If you’ve been highly patient with swing speed 1 and the golf ball comes off the clubface solid and the ball goes directly at target. Fantastic, swing speed 2 will be a breeze.
Golf is a game of feel and rhythm
What you’ve learned with speed 1 can last for your golf lifetime. You’ve learned how to feel the clubface get into square positions while maintaining a beautiful rhythm.
Now lengthen your swing as you graduate to swing speed 2, everything you’ve learned with swing speed 1 carries forward. With swing speed 2 your effort level will of course increase and the length of your swing will increase.
What will stay the same is your feel for having the clubface naturally rotate through the correct positions. Your effort level will increase slightly but that’s not to say you’re going to get stiff rigid and fast. Your demeanor should remain similar to the relaxation you’ve experienced with speed 1.
You’ll still want to maintain a level of relaxation. Feel the fluidity of the club head swinging and monitor the clubface as it rotates through correct positioning. If you spent sufficient time at speed 1 there won’t be much concern of incorrect clubface positioning. If you put in many reps at the 1 speed and know with certainty that your clubface is positioned perfectly at each checkpoint it will continue to react the same at speed 2.
The Golf ball tells the truth
As your speed increases with speed 2 and beyond it may become a little more difficult to feel or see the clubface square at impact. It becomes very important to watch each and every golf ball fly.
When you’re ball flight goes left of your intended target your clubface maybe too closed at impact.
If your ball flight is right of the intended target your clubface may be to open at impact. There may be a slight grip adjustment required, see this grip related article for clarity.
It’s a very good practice to always watch all your golf ball flights. In time you’ll learn to make adjustments within your grip or swing to correct these errant shots.
Swing speed 3
Spend hours and hours on swing speed 1, when you feel you’re results are amazing and you have a fantastic feel only then graduate to swing speed 2.
Dedicate many hours to swing speed 2 with the same goal of moving on to swing speed 3 when you see fantastic results with your ball flight.
Swing speed 3 is simply a graduation of swing speed 2. It’s now done at full effort and at full length of swing. Along with graduating in speed you’ll want to expand your knowledge to develop a consistent golf swing technique.
Golf is a beautiful game that will last your lifetime
Do yourself at a huge favor and dedicate many hours to mastering swing speed 1.
The time you spend on getting highly proficient at speed 1 will truly last you a lifetime. You’ll have many weeks, months and years to hit the ball at max power.
If you’ve done your job well at swing speed 1 your friends can go searching through the trees for their ball.
While you wait in the center of the fairway enjoying the beautiful views waiting for your turn to play.
Happy Golfing friends!
by Don Toth