Golf Magazine has an article called 3 Easy Keys for Sticking Your Irons... but that's not what I'm interested in today. It's not a bad article, but I'm more interested in the video tip that heads the article.
The video is called Irons: Eliminate Your Slice for Good. It's a tip from Golf Magazine Top100 Teacher Tom Stickney. I've embedded it here; you'll probably want to run it full screen.
You've probably heard this tip a hundred times -- keep your upper arm close to your body as you hit the ball. But I want to give you a new thought that might help you make more progress when using this tip.
Stickney says those sliced irons are caused by a disconnect -- your arm separates from your body -- so you want to keep your armpit tight against your body. A common drill for this, which Stickney doesn't mention here, is putting a glove or towel in your armpit and trying to hit the ball before you drop said glove or towel.
But let's look at this a bit closer.
When you hold something in your armpit, you're keeping your entire upper arm against your chest. The key here is keeping your lead elbow close to your side. Your elbow is closer to the club, so keeping your elbow close to your side should actually be easier than holding something in your armpit.
So try this drill: Make some practice swings -- half-swings are fine -- by letting your lead elbow stay close to your body all the way back, even letting it bend. (This is easier if you keep both elbows close against your body and let them both bend. That's an old Hogan drill.) Then let both elbows straighten as you swing the club down toward impact. In order to keep your lead elbow close to your side, you'll need to keep turning your body toward the target after impact and let your lead elbow bend as the club comes up. This will teach you the correct body movement to keep your lead elbow close.
You see, your lead elbow moves away from your body -- it disconnects, as Stickney says -- because you stop turning your body before you actually hit the ball. If you keep turning your upper body and hips -- because they all need to keep moving -- your lead elbow will stay closer to your body and you won't get that huge disconnect.
It shouldn't take you long to get comfortable with this drill. It will probably feel a bit weird if you haven't been turning through impact, but that won't last long. Then you can start making your regular backswing, and letting your lead elbow move closer to your side at impact. Then you can feel as if your lead elbow is bending as you finish, just as you did in the drill.
Soon you'll not only stop slicing your irons, you'll pick up some distance as well. It'll help with your woods also. It's just good technique.