Golf Short Irons Swing

Many players consider a golf short irons swing, a shot that requires less than a full swing, to be one of the toughest in the game.  However, this distance control swing is not as complicated as it appears.  We are simply going to work on making a smaller version of your full swing.  

Practicing your golf short irons swing will help you develop both your approach shots and your full swing.

A couple of important key tips before we get started.

Key Tip:  Always remember that the longer the shot the longer the swing and the shorter the shot the shorter the swing.  Your swing tempo should be constant. This concept above all else will help you master these shots.

Key Tip: Use a clock reference.  Your golf ball is at 6 o’clock, and your head is at 12 o’clock.  Your hands act as the hour hand. As a right handed player you will make micro adjustments to your swing between 8 and 10.

Golf Short Irons Swing - Takeaway

No matter what length control swing you need to make, they all start the same way.  

  • Your arms and shoulders form a triangle in your setup. 
  • Start the club back by only moving this triangle.  You will hear this referred to the one piece takeaway. 
  • Move your club, arms and shoulders all at the same time while keeping your lower body quiet.
  • You should feel your lead shoulder move along your toe line.  
  • When your club gets parallel to the ground it should also be along your toe line.  
  • The toe of your club should be pointing up to the sky.  This is a square club face.  It will easier to have consistent ball contact from this position.

Golf Short Irons Swing - 9 o'Clock Swing

This length swing is the one I always start with when working with a player on their distance control swing.  If your practice time is limited, then I would suggest working primarily on this length of swing.  It is a great reference point.  If you know precisely how far you hit all your wedges with this swing then it will be easier to adjust to a slightly shorter or longer swing depending on the length of your shot.

There are two ways to feel the length of your golf swing.  One is to feel the position of your hands, while the other is to feel your club head.  There is debate as to which one is better or easier.  I suggest using the one that feels better to you.  I let my players decide which method suits them best and then I teach to that concept.

In my experience, most players tend to find the hand position at 9 o’clock easier.  Therefore, this lesson is written based on the hand position.  If you prefer to use your club as the reference, please add two hours to the position on the clock.

The 9 o’clock swing has a swing length where your lead hand (left for right handed players) will be at 9 o’clock.  

Once you have completed the takeaway;

  • Start hinging your wrists towards the sky.  

Key Tip: When teaching I refer to this as ‘thumbs up’.  You should feel like your thumbs are pointing towards the sky.  You should feel your wrists hinge at the base of your thumbs.

  • You should continue to feel your lead shoulder travelling along your toe line.  
  • Unless you are incredibly flexible you will likely start to feel your hips rotating.  If you keep your hips relaxed, then they will start to rotate when you reach the end of your flexibility.  
  • Try not to restrict your hip turn by keeping your hips stiff.  If you do, without the proper flexibility, your club will likely get off line.  This will make it harder to bring the club back on line to the golf ball.
  • Keep turning your whole body together until your lead arm is at 9 o’clock. 
  • Once you get to that spot, your entire body and club should stop moving together.

Downswing and impact;

  • Your downswing should start with a slight movement towards your target. Weight transfer.
  • Key Tip: Unwind your entire body at the same time through impact.
  • At impact the grip end of your club should be slightly closer to your target than your club head.  This helps tremendously in striking the ball properly and help create a divot that starts on the target side of your golf ball. (Teachers and TV commentators call this “shaft lean”)

Follow Through;

  • Your follow through should mirror your backswing.  Therefore your body and arms should stop unwinding when your hands reach about 3 0’clock.  If momentum pulls you a little farther past this spot it is OK.  
  • You should feel most of your weight on your target side foot.

Golf Short Irons Swing - 8 o'Clock Swing

After working on the 9 o’clock swing, this swing is the same technique, only a shorter swing.  

  • The takeaway is the same as the 9 o’clock swing. 
  • The body, arms and club start together and stop together. 
  • The downswing, impact and follow through are also the same.

Swing Keys:

  • Stop your backswing when your hands get just past your knees (8 o’clock) or when your club head is about the height of your back shoulder.
  • Use a full wrist hinge despite the short swing.
  • If you start your wrist hinge a little earlier than when your club reaches parallel to the ground, that is OK.
  • Turn everything through the ball at the same speed and tempo.

Golf Short Irons Swing - 10 o'Clock Swing

If you need to hit a longer shot than your 9 o’clock swing then make your swing a little longer by getting your arms and hands to 10 o’clock.  Everything else stays the same.

I hope you found this lesson helpful.  Good luck with your practicing and playing.

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