Iron shots often get overlooked in the excitement of a booming drive, but they can make or break a round of golf. You must be able to get the ball from the fairway to the green in as few strokes as possible to give yourself a chance to putt for a birdie. Make sure to hit several shots with each iron in your golf bag when you are at the practice range. Every iron has a different loft and distance, so it is important to become familiar with how each iron plays.
Set Up in the Proper Stance
An effective iron shot starts with a solid stance. Line up your feet so the ball is between your sternum and the armpit on your non-dominant side. Spread your weight equally between both feet, and keep your knees flexed for balance. Bend at the hips to tilt your upper body toward the ball while keeping your back straight. Keep your non-dominant arm in a straight line with the shaft to prevent the club from flopping over on the backswing.
Adjust Your Backswing
Follow the "2-8-12" rule to achieve the proper pace on your backswing. Pull the club straight back for the first 2 inches of the backswing. From 2 inches to 8 inches, allow the club to travel upward without rotating your wrists. Break your wrists from the 8-inch mark to the 12-inch mark to bring the shaft of the club parallel to the ground. Keep your back shoulder lower than the front throughout the backswing. Adjust your backswing to loft the ball higher if you are hitting from the rough. Bring the club back on a steeper arc than normal by cocking your wrists as your hands reach hip height.
Check Your Swing When Practicing
Stop and check your form periodically to make sure you are not repeating bad habits when you practice. If you are having trouble striking the ball before hitting the ground, push a tee into the grass 1 inch behind your ball before your practice shots. You can also check your contact point by looking at the divot that is left after you hit the shot. The divot should be in front of the ball's original location, not behind it. Use a spare club to check the line of your backswing. Place the club on the ground to form a line a few inches in front of your feet. Your backswing should track along this line as you pull your club up and back.