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how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
After spending a couple days on the range this week warming up for the season, and also watching some golf on tv, I cannot figure out for the life of me how pros manage to hit their irons so long, while appearing as though they are barely swinging 50%.

If I hit my SW with decent contact, with a nice full yet controlled swing, it goes about 70-75 yards (this is based on hitting directly at a flag that is measured out at the range). If I hit fat, it goes less. I can muscle a few more yards out of it, but then its up for chance on where it goes.

What is the secret to swinging easy yet getting good distance.

Right now I have some yardages figured out for clubs, and Im ok with that. I dont need to go longer, I'm just curious as to how they do it!
post #2 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Two reasons:

1) It only looks like they're swinging slowly. Balance and forces applied at the right times and in sequence looks smooth, effortless.

2) Forward shaft lean at impact. You probably flip to some degree or another.
post #3 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

What he said. Also, they're doing it relaxed, probably a key to getting the last bit of speed while maintaining control. Most of the things that make it look like you're swinging hard probably slow you down. When you do see someone going for it all out, sometimes you see it, but normally they're probably dialed back a notch from the all-out that most of us (foolishly) try to use every stroke.
post #4 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
Two reasons:

1) It only looks like they're swinging slowly. Balance and forces applied at the right times and in sequence looks smooth, effortless.

2) Forward shaft lean at impact. You probably flip to some degree or another.
I would add:

3) They hit the ball with the center of the clubface. You probably don't on most shots.
post #5 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

"2) Forward shaft lean at impact. You probably flip to some degree or another."

What does this mean?? Picture?
post #6 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by The Road Dog View Post
"2) Forward shaft lean at impact. You probably flip to some degree or another."

What does this mean?? Picture?


Watch Boo Weekley's golf swing in the video above (you may have to open it in a new window). Notice how far ahead his hands are from the clubface at impact, and the effect this has on the effective loft of the iron. Amateurs often make the mistake of releasing the club too early in the downswing, thinking it will increase their distance; in reality, this action has the opposite effect. Here's a video of Briny Baird that somewhat demonstrates a player "flipping" the club.



You can see here that Briny hasn't transferred his weight through the swing, so he tries to compensate by releasing the club early. You'll see that his hands are at nearly the same level as the ball, and as such the shaft is vertical. This footage comes from the 2004 PGA Championship; as I recall, he pulled this shot out of play towards Lake Michigan (which you can see behind him).
post #7 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Its not about how hard or how much effort is in the swing. Professionals are able to do a few things that create this power and make it seem effortless

1. They create and hold lag
2. Holding the coil they create and releasing it at impact to apply the lower body power

They obviously do much more but these two things create alot of power without taking much effort
post #8 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80 View Post
After spending a couple days on the range this week warming up for the season, and also watching some golf on tv, I cannot figure out for the life of me how pros manage to hit their irons so long, while appearing as though they are barely swinging 50%.

If I hit my SW with decent contact, with a nice full yet controlled swing, it goes about 70-75 yards (this is based on hitting directly at a flag that is measured out at the range). If I hit fat, it goes less. I can muscle a few more yards out of it, but then its up for chance on where it goes.

What is the secret to swinging easy yet getting good distance.

Right now I have some yardages figured out for clubs, and Im ok with that. I dont need to go longer, I'm just curious as to how they do it!
Swing easy, hit hard my friend. The tour pros all know what we will all hopefully learn someday, distance comes from technique, not strength. You've seen me on here question 15 handicaps who claim to be able to hit their driver an average of 300 yards, well, that's basically the same thing. The amount of technique and control it takes to hit a club a long way is astronomical.

I go to the fitter and get my clubs checked for loft and lie, and while I'm there, I check all my numbers. I used to swing way past parallel, and swing out of my shoes, and the 6 iron went maybe 150 yards. I learned to stay balanced, and swing easy, now it goes 200. What feels like a much softer, easier to control swing, feels incredibly solid at impact, and the power I feel is just amazing. I'm aiming to hit my 6 iron with a minimum carry of 170 (200 yard 6 iron was coming in too hot, fitter told me I was getting 15-20 yards of roll on longer clubs, so I reworked the swing to get the ball to fly high and land soft), so I want to average it in the 185 range.

So, basically, every time I made my swing shorter, more balanced, and easier to repeat, I picked up more distance. What felt weaker, felt... stronger. It's hard to explain, but the swing felt weaker, the impact felt stronger.
post #9 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

it's pretty easy, actually. it's a combination of two factors. momentum and rhythm. here's an easy drill for you to get the idea. take club and swing it back and forth like a pendulum, letting it sort of fall with gravity then catching it towards the bottom. a good analogy of this feel is to think back to when you were a kid swinging at recess. how did you get the swing higher? momentum and rhythm. you could kick your legs as hard as you can, but without either of these it would be futile. take this idea next time you go to the range. push the club back with your shoulders, let them ''fall'' down along the target line you create with what i like to call the ''invisible laser pointing out the back of your club at the ball, and use your shoulders to propel your arms through the impact zone.
post #10 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by ISC03 View Post
2. Holding the coil they create and releasing it at impact to apply the lower body power

They obviously do much more but these two things create alot of power without taking much effort
THIS makes a huge difference!
I'm learning how to do this from a pro and I've gained 10-15 yards already.
Only another 50 yards to go until I can hit my seven iron as far as the pro's.....
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

I guess its just going to take more practice. I dont need to hit my sw 120 yards, thats what my 8 iron is for right now.

I bet my driver is going about 200 yards or so on a nice easy swing where it goes fairly straight. Again if I muscle the hell out of it, maybe 225+ but then more often than not its a high right slice or a duck hook.

I bet I can drop my scores considerably if I accept what I can do with each club and plan course management around that.
post #12 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80 View Post
I guess its just going to take more practice. I dont need to hit my sw 120 yards, thats what my 8 iron is for right now.

I bet my driver is going about 200 yards or so on a nice easy swing where it goes fairly straight. Again if I muscle the hell out of it, maybe 225+ but then more often than not its a high right slice or a duck hook.

I bet I can drop my scores considerably if I accept what I can do with each club and plan course management around that.
You hit a Wilson Di7 8 iron 120 yards? That's a 35° club, the same as my 7 iron. I'd look in to technique for that, you would almost have to be flipping the club or casting it. You would almost have to be able to get more distance from it than that.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

My technique is probably screwed up. I always try to maintain that shaft angle into impact but Ill have to double check the next trip I make out to the range.
post #14 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80 View Post
My technique is probably screwed up. I always try to maintain that shaft angle into impact but Ill have to double check the next trip I make out to the range.
Film it. Everything but solid proof is meaningless.

Think about it like being a detective, circumstantial evidence is pretty much useless, solid evidence is better, but no jury can refute a video. The camera tells no lies.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Good idea. My cell can take 60 fps video which is good enough for looking at a swing video.
post #16 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by mtsalmela80 View Post
Good idea. My cell can take 60 fps video which is good enough for looking at a swing video.
then upload it to www.swingacademy.com
post #17 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Originally Posted by James_Black View Post
then upload it to www.swingacademy.com
YouTube is better. You can embed it and download the original video.
post #18 of 22

Re: how do these pros hit their irons so long with such little effort

Torsion and proper contact.

A couple guys I play with keep asking me why I only take a 3/4 swing with my irons. I wasn't sure if they were curious or trying to get into my head. It only looks that way - I'm usually swinging pretty hard - at least 90% full. Maybe it's because of a straight left arm and minimal wrist cock it look like a 3/4 swing because I'm at least 2 clubs longer with my irons - and no it's not because I have brand new SGI mislabelled stong lofted bullshit irons.
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