Tiger Woods hits his irons straighter and more accurately than most pros. By swinging the club exactly the same way, he’s able to repeat his golf swing again and again and again. The more he repeats his swing, the more often he generates predictable results. For Tiger, predictable results mean more tournament wins and higher earnings. For the rest of us, it means better scores and lower golf handicaps.
Building a repeatable swing is ultimately the goal of all golf instruction. The secret to producing a repeatable swing with your irons is keeping the clubface square to the swing path. Failing to do so forces you to make compensatory moves to return the clubface square to the ball.
Five other keys to building a repeatable swing are
One common factor among good players, in addition to low golf handicaps, is “staying connected” during the swing. In other words, good players feature a one-piece takeaway from the ball, which I often stress in my golf tips and golf lessons. Staying connected means that everything—your club hands, arms, and shoulders—moves away from the ball in unison as you start your backswing, ensuring that the clubhead travels on a wide arc away from the ball.
Set the club on the correct plane
A repeatable swing sets the club on the correct plane. To do so, hinge or cock your wrists as you move into the backswing. As your arms continue to swing upward and your body to turn, the wrists point the clubhead skyward while your left shoulder replaces the right shoulder at address. The angle of the shaft to the ball stays the same and the clubhead remains square to the swing’s path.
Swing into the top slot
As the top of the backswing, your club moves into “the slot” position, where the club’s shaft is horizontal to the ground and parallel to the target line. Also, the clubface’s angle matches your arm angle. Known as square or neutral, this is the ideal position to aim for at the top of the backswing. In addition, your original spine angle and your head position remain the same as at address. Your shoulders are turned 90 degrees, while your hips are turned 45 degrees. Most of your weight is over the right foot and you feel resistance in your right knee and right thigh.
Retain the force of the swing
Settle your weight smoothly back on your left side and start to unwind the upper body, as you move into the downswing. Also, drop your right elbow (for right handers) down to your side. This flattens the swing slightly. (This is Herb Pennick’s “Magic Move,” which I’ve previously covered in my golf tips.). As you shift your weight to the left side, your right heel comes off the ground slightly. Try retaining the 90 degree angle between your left wrist and the club’s shaft as long as possible. Your hands lead the club into the ball at impact.
Open your shoulders at impact
It’s a common belief that your shoulders should return to a square position at impact. I always address this point when giving golf lessons. In fact, your shoulders should occupy a slightly open position at impact, ensuring that the club has the room needed to travel on the correct path through the ball. In short, your body has to “get out of the way” for consistent ball striking with your irons. Finish with a balanced follow-through.
Also, important in building a repeatable swing is striking the ball cleanly and crisply. Work on this drill to improve your ballstriking. It’s a staple of my golf instruction.
• Start by assuming the ideal impact position at address with one of your irons. Start by shifting your weight onto the left side (for right-handers) and lift the right heel off the ground a fraction. The hips and shoulders are slightly open with the head over the ball, creating the feeling of a good impact position. Now, move into the back swing, shifting your weight to the right side. Return your weight to the left side, swinging the club down and through at impact. Move through the swing to a balanced position, with your weight on your front foot.
Practice this drill again and again and again until you feel yourself swinging the club the same way. Building that repeatable swing produces accuracy, consistency, and a lower golf handicap. Yours may not look like Tiger’s but it can produce more consistent and better results.