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8 Can’t-Miss Tips for Hitting Pure Iron Shots Every Time

The pure iron shot is one of the best feelings in the game of golf. When you strike an iron pure, it often feels “buttery.” The ball compresses, it jumps off the clubface, and you land the ball exactly where you want it to on the green.

Do you want to do this more often?

With the right skills for hitting pure iron shots, you can get that buttery pure iron feel on a regular basis. I’ll show you how.

Hitting Pure Iron Shots (Key Takeaways)

Hitting pure iron shots goes beyond hitting straight iron shots. These shots are hit directly in the center of the face, with a square face and plenty of club head speed.

Here are some of the things you will need to know to hit a pure iron shot.

  • You must strike the ball on your downswing in order to get the proper ball flight and distance from your iron shot.
  • The lead wrist position has to be in a slightly flexed position at impact in order to hit a pure iron shot.
  • Ensuring you have the same setup every time will improve overall balance and stability and lead to more consistency in the iron strike.
  • Utilizing ground forces by pushing off the ground during the swing increases power and improves the centeredness of the strike.
Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

8 Tips for Hitting Pure Iron Shots

1. Nail Down the Ball Position

Ball position is one of the more overlooked areas of the setup for amateur players. I’m here to tell you that where you place the ball in your iron swing greatly impacts where the shot goes.

  • If your irons are too far back in your stance, when you get to the ball, you may hit behind it, and the clubface could be open as it still didn’t have time to close.
  • If your irons are too far forward in your stance, you may hit them thin, lose power, or even hook them to the left.

The ball position will change from your short irons to your long irons. Expect to place the 8,7,6 irons in the direct center of your stance. The 4 and 5 iron can move a ball length forward of center, still staying behind the left heel.

For the 9 iron and wedges, move the ball one golf ball length back from the center.

The adjustments are minor when working with different golf clubs, but they matter. The consistency of the ball position in your setup will make or break the success of your pure iron shot.

2. Perfect Wrist Movement Before You Get to the Ball

To hit a pure iron shot, you need to have your lead wrist in a flexed or bowed position. If the lead wrist is flat, you will still hit a good shot, although it will lack a little power and consistency. If you have a cupped wrist at impact, expect shots to the right, too much loft, and a significant loss in power.

The solution?

Fix your wrist position before you get to the ball using the HackMotion.

correct golf swing sequence

There are two things to do here.

  1. Don’t increase extension in your lead wrist when swinging from setup to the top of the backswing.
  2. On the downswing, decrease any extension you have in the lead wrist as soon as possible; the sooner the clubface gets to square, the easier it is to hit the ball with ball speed and precision.

Wearing the HackMotion will allow you to record data about your wrist position at setup, the top of the backswing, and at impact. Look for that pattern of less extension in the lead wrist at the top of the backswing, moving to a flexed position at impact.

Most amateur players find the mistake is in waiting too long to square the clubface.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

3. Create Some Lag in Your Swing

Lag in your golf swing can help you get effortless power. Creating lag with the irons can be done in several different ways, but the key is to ensure your fundamentals are first in place. Creating lag before you know how to square a clubface won’t do all that much for you.

One of the best ways to create lag in your golf swing is to take a long towel and take some practice swings with this towel. Grip the top of the towel as you would normally grip a golf club.

However, you will let your bottom hand separate from the top hand by at least about a foot or so.

Take a backswing with the towel, holding it tight between your hands as you swing back. At the top of the backswing, you let go with your trail hand and use the lead hand to swing the towel through impact.

The towel will give you that feeling of lag and help ensure you can repeat it with a real club. Do the towel drills at least a few times a day to see real improvement.

Another great drill for creating lag to hit pure iron shots is seen in this video below by Paul Wilson Golf. The drill is very easy to pick up on, and it’s something you could try on the range today.

4. Pay Attention to Weight in the Setup

Where is your weight when you set up to hit an iron shot?

Most golfers do not pay enough attention to the exact positioning of their weight in the swing.

You may unknowingly have more weight towards your toes or heels when you set up, creating a probably with stability and balance.

Where does the weight go?

You need to feel your body weight on the inside of your feet; it should feel as though you are pushing down and into the ground to utilize the ground to your full potential.

Most iron shots require a division of weight so that there are equal amounts on both the left and the right foot at setup. With the shorter irons, it’s acceptable to have 60 percent of the weight on the lead side and 40 percent on the trail for the iron swing.

Some golfers play their entire game with a 50/50 weight distribution. As long as you are promoting an angle of attack that lets you hit down and through the shot, your weight distribution is correct.

5. Take the Divot After Impact

When hitting a pure iron shot, a divot comes after the golf ball. If a divot is before the ball, the strike is not considered to be pure.

One of my favorite drills to help improve your angle of attack and hit down and through iron shots involves using a tee placed directly in front of the ball.

Place the tee in front of the golf ball so that it is loose on the ground. In other words, don’t put the tee into the ground. Instead, just put it about a ½ inch in front of your golf ball (where the divot should be). Now, take some swings without changing your ball position. On these shots, teach yourself to hit the ball and the tee to achieve that divot after the golf ball.

If this is a weak point in your game, you may take the first few swings and miss the tee completely. Practice this concept with shorter shots and even chipping and pitching to achieve a pure strike.

6. Leave the Face Square at Setup

Did you know that some golfers set themselves up for a poor iron shot before they even take the club back?

When hitting a pure iron shot, the clubface should be square. When was the last time you checked your setup to make sure the clubface was square and aligned toward the target?

Golfers subconsciously close or open the clubface based on their natural ball flight patterns.

Leave the face square at setup.

You can practice by putting your iron face up to a straight edge on the driving range and getting an idea of what square looks like. In addition, when you determine the position of square, you can use HackMotion to take note of your wrist angles at the address.

Reproducing these angles could help you get to that square setup position each time.

7. Play Your Natural Shot Shape

If you naturally fade or draw the ball, play it! There is no reason to fight the natural shot shape; simply learn to play with it.

When you stop fighting what is natural for you, hitting a golf shot with more speed and confidence becomes easier. If your natural shot shape is a hook or a slice, I would work on straightening the clubface at impact a bit so you are dealing with a draw or a fade.

Hitting irons pure is just as much mental as it is physical, and when you play a shot that you trust and have confidence in, the mental components work themselves out.

8. Control the Speed on the Backswing

Tempo is often considered one of the more important features of any golf swing. However, instead of thinking about the overall tempo, which is hard for most golfers, I like the concept of simply controlling the backswing speed.

If you tend to take the club back quickly, you may be making slight errors that decrease your consistency at impact.

Taking the golf iron back a little slower will help keep you on plane, maintain proper wrist angles, allow for the transfer of weight, and ultimately improve overall tempo.

Don’t think that this slightly slower backswing will decrease your ball speed and distance; if done right, you won’t have to worry about that.

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Practice Tips for Hitting Pure Iron Shots

Now that you have these tips to hit pure iron shots, it’s time to head to the range to work on them.

Here are some of the best tips to make your practice session more successful.

  • Use technology like HackMotion to collect and analyze data about your golf swing; the detailed data and stats can help you move towards pure iron shots considerably faster.
  • Never hit iron shots on the driving range without first picking a target and visualizing the shots you want to hit; this is going to help bring this to the golf course.
  • Utilize golf alignment sticks to ensure your setup and ball position are identical from one swing to the next.
  • Record video data, especially of the top of the backswing and the impact position; look for a flat lead wrist at the top of the backswing and a flexed lead wrist at impact.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing quite like the feel of a pure iron shot struck purely. The ball comes off the clubface as if it knew what to do all along. Practicing these concepts and playing with golf irons built for your game will help you hit pure iron shots every time.

Now, all that is left to do is head to the range with your HackMotion and see what you can do.

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Brittany Olizarowicz
written by Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz is a golf professional who has played the game for more than 30 years. In addition to loving the game of golf, Britt has a degree in math education and loves analyzing data and using it to improve her game and the games of those around her. If you want actionable tips on how to improve your golf swing and become a better player, read her guides.