How to Address a Golf Ball with an Iron

How to Address a Golf Ball with an Iron
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There are a couple simple positions once implemented will make your iron play laser sharp.  

The positioning of your golf club is critical so you can easily apply your set up position in response to correct club positioning.

How to Address a Golf Ball with an Iron

Does the lie of a golf club affect set up position?

The lie of the club has a huge impact on your overall set up position. Let’s assume that you’re using a standard lie golf club.  The lie of the club is very important because when addressing a golf ball you start with positioning the clubhead first.

How to position the clubhead when addressing the golf ball

This is one of the few basics that is critical, as correct club head positioning will immediately improve your golf game.  When you sole your club on the grass you want the bottom of the club to sit flat to the surface of the grass then ever so slightly toed up. 

It can be a good practice exercise to sole the club on a hard surface like your basement or garage on the concrete floor.   It’s good to see the flat sole of the clubhead on a hard surface without blades of grass obstructing the view.   Once you have the club head soled flat then ever so slightly toed up.   You should see the slightest bit of daylight under the very toe of the club head. 

Proper club head position

Enlist the help of a friend for a simple measure.   Once you have the club head in this flat to the ground and slightly toed up position. Have your friend slide a piece of paper under the toe of the club.   The paper should slide under the toe of the clubhead slightly.  The paper should be stopped just before it reaches the middle of the clubhead. 

If your friend is unable to get the paper under the toe of the club at all, the club is too upright. The grip end should be lowered slightly which will result in a more toe up club head position.  Then the paper should slide in just short of the middle of the clubhead.

When the paper is slid under the toe of the club and it easily slides clearly through to the heel of the club, the golf club position is too flat.  The grip end of the golf club should be lifted which will lower the toe of the club closer to the ground surface.

Golf swing lie board

This is an absolutely critical step to get your clubhead soled properly to the ground surface.  A fantastic training tool is available to give you an accurate assessment of your lie in set up and swing.  

When you take a swing on the lie board a skuff mark will appear on the bottom of the club.  Ensure you use the club strips for the club bottom to get a precise reading.

If the scuff is too close to heel, the club needs to be positioned more upright.  The grip end needs to be lifted in the set-up. 

If the scuff is too close to the toe, the golf club needs to be positioned more flat. The grip end needs to be lowered in the set-up.

The scuff should appear dead center on the bottom of your clubhead maybe ever so slightly favoring the heel.

The golf swing lie board could change your ball flight dramatically.  They are very inexpensive and provide fabulous feedback.

Addressing the golf ball starts with the golf club

Now we have the club soled on the ground in proper position sitting nicely on the ground surface and slightly toed up.

When the club is in this position the handle naturally comes up into a fixed position. This shaft angle is now on proper plane.

It’s now your job to fit your posture into the handle of the golf club. When you’re getting into your address position have a very keen eye on the clubhead.  You want to address the golf club while not moving the club head from the proper position on the ground surface. 

Remember the time and effort to get the club soled properly.   When you are addressing the ball you want to ensure you are not changing the lie angle of the club head on the ground.   Changing the angle of the club head on the ground would in effect change the angle of the shaft as well. 

Again it’s very important to recognize when addressing the golf ball with your iron.  

Remember, the address of the golf ball starts with the correct positioning of the golf club head and shaft first. 

Once the club is in correct position you then position your body to the golf club.

Iron set up and stance

With the clubhead in proper position on the ground surface it’s time to work your set up position to meet the handle of the club.  A base premise to always keep in mind with the golf set up position or the swing is to create maximum radius. In order to create maximum clubhead radius with the set up you want to think, be tall.

Iron set up and stance

Be tall in your golf set up position

It’s very important to have a feeling within your set up position that you are at maximum height.  In order to achieve maximum height within your set up position you’ll have some knee bend but not a lot. You’ll tilt your spine angle forward with a nice straight back.   Your back, from hip to top of head should be in nice straight alignment.  

Your arms hang straight down to fit to the handle while not changing the lie of the club on the ground surface.  If your exceptionally tall you’ll have slightly more bend within your knees and a little more tilted forward with your spine angle.

You’ll have to make slight adjustments to fit where the handle of the golf club is, remember not to change the lie of the club head on the ground in the process.  If you’re on the shorter side you’ll have very little knee bend, perhaps none at all, and only a slight tilt forward with your spine angle.

Review of your set up position

  • Position the golf club head to the ground surface.

  • Club head is soled flat on ground surface, ever so slightly, toed up.

  • Handle of the club is now set in proper plain.

  • Do not move the club shaft or club head when you address the club

  • Take your address position feeling tall.

  •  Slight knee bend.

  • Nice straight back with forward tilt.

  • Straight down arm hang with …light grip pressure on handle… 

Proper stance for hitting irons

Once your club is positioned properly to the ground surface and you’ve addressed the ball with your set up position. You want to consider your stance width as well. The width of your stance is not as critical an element as is the positioning of the golf club on the ground surface.   Or your posture as it relates to the golf club position.  The width of your stance should be approximately shoulders width apart. This can range slightly.   A good range is your shoulders width fitting between your feet for a slightly wider stance.  Your shoulders width to the very outside of your feet for a slightly narrower stance, is also an option.

Ball position for irons

The ball position for your irons should be middle.  This can change for uphill or downhill lies, or whether you want to hit the ball high or low.  If you’d like to hit the ball high you can move it slightly forwarding your stance.  If you want to flight the ball down you can position it slightly back of center. 

In general having the ball position in the center between your feet allows the clubhead to impact the golf ball first.   The club head will continue through the golf ball and reach it’s most shallow point after impact likely taking a small divot.  It’s a good practice exercise to place a golf tee beside your golf ball. After impact notice where the divots started in relation to where the ball was.

Slight press forward with shaft

In your set a position, take a look at your hands in relation to the club head and golf ball.  Your hands should appear to be more over the golf ball rather than over the clubhead. The result of this is the club shaft has a slight press forward look.  This press forward affect will carry forward into our swings and impact position. When you’re impacting the golf ball the clubhead impacts the golf ball then enters the ground to take a small divot.

Golf club position behind golf ball

When you position the club head behind the golf ball. Gently set the clubhead on the grass surface. Again it’s always important to monitor the lie of the club on the grass surface as always being only slightly toed up.

It’s also very important to gently set the club on to the grass surface. You don’t want to be pressing the club head into the ground or firmly into the grass. In order to create maximum distance and solid impact remember you’re trying to achieve maximum radius.

Every millimetre matters! 

When you gently set the clubhead on the grass surface with the feather like touch you are gaining radius. You are maintaining maximum height within your address position. The more you push the clubhead into the ground you begin compromising your overall set up height.

A feather light touch of the clubhead to the grass surface just gently in behind the ball will allow you to have maximum radius. This feather light touch of the club head behind the ball to the ground surface will also enable you to have very solid feeling impact with the golf ball.

In what sequence do you address the golf ball?

  • Clubhead slightly toed up.

  • Clubshaft on plane as a result of good clubhead position.

  • Hands on handle, arms straight but relaxed.

  • Straight spine hip to head.

  • Knee bend only slight

  • Feet width shoulders width

  • Feather lite touch of clubhead to grass

  • You’re good to go!!

Practice these address positions consistently and soon enough they’ll become second nature.  You’ll move through them more quickly as time goes on.

There are three main components to building a complete golf game and this being the first.  The remaining two are the relaxation process and the golf swing technique.  All aspects are highly important on their own and have to be done effectively. 

Each step done well, leads to your success as a whole.

Happy Golfing Friends!

by Don Toth

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