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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Blair O'Neal on Hitting Long Irons (Video)

My, how times have changed. When I was a bit younger, if you mentioned "long irons" you were talking about 2-irons or 3-irons. In this GC video, Blair O'Neal has tips for hitting 4-irons and 5-irons... and calls them "long irons."

After reminding you to trust the iron's loft to get the ball up in the air, Blair's three tips are:
  • Move the ball a little bit forward in your stance
  • Make a sweeping swing with the iron
  • Take your time making the swing
I want to say a bit more about that last tip, since it can help you hit any club in your bag better, but especially your longer clubs.

If you've ever used a hammer to drive a nail, you know what it feels like to "wait on the hammer" as you swing it. Try to rush the change of direction, and you'll be rewarded with a sore wrist and maybe a sore thumb when you miss the nail completely! The weight of the hammer's head almost demands that you take your time, that you don't rush that change of direction.

Although a golf club isn't as heavy, the extra length of the shaft (as compared to a hammer) causes your golf swing to feel the same way. Try to rush the change of direction and you might hurt your wrists... but you'll almost certainly mis-hit the ball. If you want to compare the two, try swinging a hammer a few times and then try to duplicate the feel with a golf club. (Use short backswings to start. Once you get used to it, start lengthening your swing.) It's amazing how close the two movements feel!

Once your swing has changed direction and the club is on its way down, you can swing almost as hard as you want and you'll still have a decent chance to get a solid hit. But you have to give that change of direction enough time so you make a smooth transition from backswing to downswing. If you do, you'll hit all your clubs -- but especially the long ones -- much better.

And just for the record, that's what the old timers were talking about when they said players need to "feel the clubhead."

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