How to Control Distance and Trajectory of Your Iron Shots!

by Max on Saturday, October 24th, 2009

This one is pretty simple but learning how to control distance of your iron shots is one of the most effective ways to control your distance and also trajectory.

For example, you have 150 yards to the pin from the fairway.  If you hit your 7-iron 150 yards with a full swing, that’d be good to use on a sunny day with absolutely no wind.

On the other hand, let’s say there’s a heavy 20MPH wind going against you on the 150 yard shot.  You could possibly hit another club and hit your 6-iron with a full shot or hit the 6 or 5-iron with a half swing, which will result in lower trajectory  and your shot won’t be affected by the wind.

Most of the time, I choose to go with the latter, choosing a much lower-numbered club and hit it with either 3/4 or 1/2 swing.  This is usually called a “knock-down” shot and it’s imperative that you learn how to do this if you want too be a good all-around player.

For example, if you play in super-windy areas like Texas, you don’t have a choice but to deal with 30+MPH winds on a daily basis.  You need to hit the ball lower but hitting a full shot won’t help you do that.

Although you could put the ball back in your stance and make a full swing at it, because you are still swinging “full”, the amount of backspin put on the ball will be too much and affected too much by the wind.

So, you need to learn to control the distance and trajectory of your iron shots.

How to do this?

Very simple actually, just take a shorter backswing.  But you will need to practice often on the range in order to “control” precisely.

Next time you go out on the range, don’t simply bang full-swings, see if you can hit the same target with different clubs, with different length of backswings.

If you have not tried doing this before, I assure you, you will won’t be too accurate, so practice makes perfect.

For example, when I go to the range, I will hit to a 150 yard target with my 8-iron. (with a full swing)  Then, I will take a 7-iron and also hit it 150 yards but with shorter backswing, which results in lower trajectory.  I will also take a 6-iron and take even short backswing.  Usually, I go about up to 3 clubs down before I move on to my next target.

This is not only great practice for your overall “feel” for distance and trajectory, now you potentially made new arsenal of shots in your golf bag.  Instead of just having 1 full shot from each club, you potentially now have multiple uses with each club.

Having more weapons in your golf bag means more ways you can attack the pin on the golf course.   Also, let’s say you have an approach shot with a tree hanging over about 30 yards out, perhaps this isn’t even a challenge to you because you have a shot in your bag with the right distance and trajectory to hit it under the tree and still get to the green.

Another great use for length of your backswing is as a swing thought.  Instead of filling your mind with too many things, simply think of the “length” of you backswing when hitting a golf ball on the course.  This will allow you to really be able to focus on one thing, that of controlling your distance.

The rest of the swing should be pretty easy and automatic if you have been practicing your fundamentals and needless to say, the less you think about your golf swing on the course, the better you play.

Well, keep practicing different lengths and trajectories by simply limiting how far you swing back.

Happy golfin!


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