All good irons players—Ben Curtis, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods—have great footwork. Weekend golfers, on the other hand, often struggle with their footwork when hitting irons. Some get up on their toes when making their downswings. Others fall back on their heels. Either way, poor footwork produces poor shots—especially with your irons. If you want to hit crisp irons consistently, improve your footwork.
Below are three keys to good footwork:
• Shift your lower body forward a little (downswing)
• Set your swing to the inside
• Transfer your weight onto your left heel
You must execute your footwork properly to execute the lower body motion that’s key to trapping the ball against the ground. If your footwork fails, you’ll find yourself hitting thin and fat shots.
The critical stage of your footwork starts after you’ve reached the top of your swing. On the downswing your lower body needs to shift forward a little as you transfer your weight from your right heel to your left big toe. This lateral movement helps you set your swing to the inside.
As your hips continue to turn, your weight transfers as well, shifting across the outside of your left foot and onto your left heel. This is where you want it at impact, so you’re hit-ting down and through the shot.
Below is a drill that helps improve footwork:
Address a ball with your 7-iron. Drag another ball against your front heel. Make a three-quarter swing. Swing down, trying to hit the ball you addressed without the ball by your front heel moving. If the ball at your left heel moves, you’ve shifted your weight incorrectly on the downswing.
Practice this drill until you can hit shot after shot without moving the ball. When you can do that consistently, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your ballstriking with both your irons and your fairway woods.