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deekay

Pulling short irons.

15 posts in this topic

Hi all,

I generally don't hit big hooks or slices, but over the last few months I have had a problem with pulling my short irons. On a 120 yard shot I will often be up to about 20 yards left of target about 70 percent of the time. With a straight ball flight.

The irritating thing is that it doesn't happen 100 percent of the time, so I don't really know how to align myself when lining up with a short iron approach shot. I am afraid that lining up to the right, and playing for the pull, will introduce swing path issues which could lead to a slice. Combine that with aiming to the right to start with and my ball will probably disappear into next week!

I am assuming that I come a little over-the-top with the shorter irons, so would aiming parallel left and opening the face a bit (to try to hit a pull-fade back onto target) help? Or is there another way?

It's the uncertainty at set-up which messes with my head, with predictable results (for a high handicapper!)

Any comments would be appreciated.

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What's your ball flight for your stock 6 iron shot?

If you normally play a fade that starts left and fades back to target, you could be pulling all your clubs. The longer clubs will actually fade back toward the target, but the short irons could be going straight left. Because of the higher loft on your short clubs, they don't move side-to-side in the air as much as the longer clubs. Just a thought.

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Check your lie angles.  With the shorter (higher loft) clubs, a lie angle too upright will cause the ball to start left.

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apart from the obvious that has been stated above, just watch your ball position, it may be too far forward for the short irons.

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Originally Posted by minitour

Check your lie angles.  With the shorter (higher loft) clubs, a lie angle too upright will cause the ball to start left.

While this is true, it probably isn't bad enough to cause a 20 yard miss. Check out this thread for some interesting info on the effects of wrong lie angles.

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I believe the pull is caused by an out to in swing with a closed face. I stand to be corrected.

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Originally Posted by Tenerife

I believe the pull is caused by an out to in swing with a closed face. I stand to be corrected.

If you mean closed to the target (ie. pointing left of the target for a right hander) but square to the swing path, then yes you're correct.

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Originally Posted by Mordan

If you mean closed to the target (ie. pointing left of the target for a right hander) but square to the swing path, then yes you're correct.

Yes that's the one, thanks :)

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Originally Posted by notsohard

apart from the obvious that has been stated above, just watch your ball position, it may be too far forward for the short irons.


Thanks notsohard,

I think you may have helped me here. I address the ball with my feet flared slightly open, and I notice that in that position my hands on the club obscure my left heel. It's very easy then for me to use the toe of my shoe as my reference point (which would work if my feet were square to the target line) and think the ball is positioned well inside the left heel when in fact it's much further forward, perhaps opposite my instep.

This must surely be a common optical effect at set-up, so how do better players judge their ball position?

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When I pull my short irons it's almost always that my alignment with my shoulders or hips are open.

To help your setup, develop a routine that no matter what, you stick to. For me, I mimick Jack Nicklaus and align the clubface to a spot a few feet on my target line then align myself parallel to it. It helps me consistently put the ball position where I need it and keep my hips and shoulders square.

Good luck.

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A guy taking a lesson just ahead of mine was having trouble with his short irons. The pro told him he was overswinging on his takeaway. Trimming his backswing seemed to straighten it out. Just a thought.

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Originally Posted by deekay

Hi all,

I generally don't hit big hooks or slices, but over the last few months I have had a problem with pulling my short irons. On a 120 yard shot I will often be up to about 20 yards left of target about 70 percent of the time. With a straight ball flight.

The irritating thing is that it doesn't happen 100 percent of the time, so I don't really know how to align myself when lining up with a short iron approach shot. I am afraid that lining up to the right, and playing for the pull, will introduce swing path issues which could lead to a slice. Combine that with aiming to the right to start with and my ball will probably disappear into next week!

I am assuming that I come a little over-the-top with the shorter irons, so would aiming parallel left and opening the face a bit (to try to hit a pull-fade back onto target) help? Or is there another way?

It's the uncertainty at set-up which messes with my head, with predictable results (for a high handicapper!)

Any comments would be appreciated.


You may be pulling the ball left because your trying to swing to hard. I do this sometimes trying to get backspin on the ball. So maybe try to hit a nice and easy flowing shot and not try to smash it. If your not doing this the only other thing I could recommend would be chocking up on grip a little. This would help with hitting a straighter shot but you would lose a little distance because of it.

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Hello all,

Thanks for the comments. One can read all the instruction books and articles one wants to but nothing beats hearing how experienced golfers have practically overcome an issue you may be battling with. Keep them coming!

Given that the swing is basically a rotational movement around your body, I tend to feel I may have an inconsistent ball position problem. This brings me back to my question as to how better golfers check or establish their ball position.The often recommended routine is to square the club face behind the ball and then step into your address position. But how do you step into the same position consistently if your hands are now obscuring particularly your left foot, as this is generally quoted as the reference point?

Is there another reference point to use? Or can one only practice set-up with alignment sticks and then do your best to imprint that picture on your memory for when you are on the course?

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Originally Posted by deekay

Hello all,

Thanks for the comments. One can read all the instruction books and articles one wants to but nothing beats hearing how experienced golfers have practically overcome an issue you may be battling with. Keep them coming!

Given that the swing is basically a rotational movement around your body, I tend to feel I may have an inconsistent ball position problem. This brings me back to my question as to how better golfers check or establish their ball position.The often recommended routine is to square the club face behind the ball and then step into your address position. But how do you step into the same position consistently if your hands are now obscuring particularly your left foot, as this is generally quoted as the reference point?

Is there another reference point to use? Or can one only practice set-up with alignment sticks and then do your best to imprint that picture on your memory for when you are on the course?

Hi, deekay,

Read Lee Trevino on this subject---I have found what he said to be spot on.  He maintains that short irons are made too upright in lie, as there is a natural tendency to pull them, because the hip action is slower when swinging softly, as with these clubs, Conversely, he says that with long irons, the hip action is much faster, so there is a tendency to cut the ball.  With this in mind, he had his mid irons (4,5,6) at standard lie (whatever that might mean !), and his long irons progressively more upright, with the 4 one degree upright, the 3 two degrees upright and the 2 iron three degrees upright. At the other end of the set, he had them the other way, with the 7 iron one degree flat, the 8 two degrees flat, the 9 iron three degrees flat and the wedges four degrees flat.  He advised Jack Nicklaus to flatten the lies of his wedges as he felt this was the only slightly 'weak' area of his otherwise superb game, and he took Lee's advice..

I have adopted the same method as Trevino, and it has immeasurably improved my iron play.    Get your pro to flatten the lie of whichever of your short irons has given most trouble, and I think you'll be delighted to find that  swing changes are unnecessary, and you'll be "converted", as I was. If you find that to be the case,you can then have your whole set "doctored".

Best wishes.

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Originally Posted by minitour

Check your lie angles.  With the shorter (higher loft) clubs, a lie angle too upright will cause the ball to start left.

Hi, minitour,

Yes.   Lee Trevino advocated having the mid irons at "standard" lie, and the long irons progressively more upright, whilst he had the short irons progressively flatter.  He said the hips move fast with the harder swing on long irons, making a tendency to cut the shot, but slower hip action with the short irons, making a tendency to pull them.

I adopted this myself thirty years ago and vastly improved my iron play overnight.

Most pros seem to think I'm mad when I have asked them to alter lies in this way, but are quickly converted when they see the amazing benefit.

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