How to Improve Your Play With the Longer Irons and Hybrids

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

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Stance & Ball Placement: The width of your stance should be at a minimum shoulder width. Weight at address should have slightly more on the rear foot. Your weight balance should be on the middle or balls of your feet. The ball should be positioned in the front half of your stance, closer to the front heel than center. Moving the ball forward in your stance may assist you in hitting the ball higher into the air. Your balance, ball striking and solidness of contact will greatly increase with the proper ball placement and weight distribution.

Shoulder and Hip Turn: Initiate the swing with a good shoulder and hip turn. On the backswing take the club back until your front shoulder is touching your chin. At the top of the backswing your front shoulder will be pointing at the ball and your back is facing the target. Stop the backswing upon reaching this point. To begin the downswing, begin uncoiling or turning back towards the target. Drive your legs, hips and knees into the ball. This will generate the proper weight shift and get your body moving quickly, to begin the downswing. Continue turning your body and shifting your weight until reaching your finish position, weight is now on the front foot and your body is facing the target. The proper shoulder and hip turn are critical for generating power and creating a good swing path. The result will be more accurate and longer golf shots.

Take a Divot: The longer irons have very little loft on the club face, so taking a divot becomes even more important for getting the ball into the air. The well-struck iron shot will make a divot beginning directly under the ball going forward towards your target. With the wider sole on the hybrid you may not dig into the dirt under the sod but you will need to sweep the grass to get the maximum height and distance from the shot. If you are not taking a divot, pick out a good target with your eyes to focus on contacting the grass under the ball, confirm your ball placement, and try to clip the grass under the ball with each shot. A good weight shift and turn will make it much easier to take a divot. 

Tempo: This may be the most important yet! Keep it smooth and work on your balance and control of the club head. Most golfers get the long irons and woods in their hands and their swing tempo gets faster. You do not have to swing harder to get that extra distance, that’s the clubs job. Keep a smooth even tempo. Slow on the backswing and accelerate on the downswing through to the finish position. 

For more help with your golf game, contact Mark Oswald at