Question: I started playing golf about a year now and my handicap is around +25 and under. My average driving distances around 245 yards consistently. My problem is my short game irons, especially with my 3,4,5 irons. I find it harder to hit good with these irons than my woods or the driver. I need help! Thanks, Tim
Answer: Technically the 3,4 and 5 irons are called long irons not short irons. They are the longest irons in the bag and the most difficult to hit. The have a very small club face and very little loft, so you have to strike the ball perfect at impact to hit them well.
Here are a few tips to help you with your “long irons”;
To consistently hit the sweetspot for maximum distance, you should strive to swing with a square clubface at all times. Unless, of course, you are trying to hit an intentional curve ball.
If your grip is correct, then it will be easy to return the clubface square impact. If you have a faulty grip, then the clubface cannot be squared at impact or you will have to make compensations. To determine your clubface position at address and impact, hold the club out in front of you with your left hand (if you are a right-handed golfer) so that the shaft is parallel to the ground. The leading edge should be straight up and down. Then stretch your arm out as far as possible and check the clubface. Ideally, the leading edge should stay square. If the clubface twists open or closed, then this is how the clubface will hit the ball at impact. If you continually hit shots to the right, then your clubface is open at impact. When the clubface is closed at impact your shots will shoot off to the left. Adjust your grip and setup until you achieve a square clubface.
Core muscles, which include the abdominal and back muscles, are essential to the golf swing to create power. Strengthening the core can be done with a simple plank exercise.Plank exercises can be done almost anywhere at any time. Performing plank exercises on a regular basis will help strengthen muscles to improve golf swing and prevent injury.
How to Perform the Plank:
1. Lie face down on the floor. Using forearms and toes slowly push your body up off of the floor balancing on your forearms and toes.
2. Contract your abdominal muscles while keeping your head, neck and shoulders aligned with hips and legs.
3. Hold position for 10 seconds working up to holding position for 60 seconds.
Core muscles, which include the abdominals and the low back, are essential to the golf swing to create power. Strengthening the core can be done with simple plank exercises. To learn how to do these and other golf-specific exercises click here…
Plank exercises can be done almost anywhere at any time. Performing plank exercises on a regular basis will help strengthen muscles to improve golf swing and prevent injury.
Lie face down on the floor and get up into a push-up position. You can also use forearms and toes to push your body up off of the floor balancing only on your forearms and toes. Contract your abdominal muscles while keeping your head, neck and shoulders aligned with hips and legs. Hold position for 10 seconds working up to holding position for 60 seconds.
Doing plank exercises can help you maintain stronger posture in your set up.
Karen Palacios-Jansen is an LPGA Teaching Professional and Certified Personal Trainer. She developed Cardiogolf, a golf-specific fitness system available at KPJgolf.com.
For an activity to qualify as aerobic, two factors must be present. First, the activity must last at least 20 minutes. Second, you have to increase your heart rate to at least 70% of your maximum rate during the 20 minutes.
Aerobic exercise conditions the heart and lungs by increasing the oxygen available to the body and by enabling the heart to use oxygen more efficiently.
Additional Benefits of Aerobic Exercise: In addition to cardiovascular benefits, other benefits of aerobic exercise include:
- Control of body fat: Aerobic exercise in conjunction with strength training and a proper diet will reduce body fat.
- Increased resistance to fatigue and extra energy
- Toned muscles and increased lean body mass
- Decreased tension and aid in sleeping
- Increased general stamina
- Psychological benefits: Exercise improves mood, reduces depression and anxiety.
- Keep excess pounds at bay: Combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise helps you lose weight — and keep it off.
- Increase your stamina: Aerobic exercise may make you tired in the short term. But over the long term, you’ll enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.
- Ward off viral illnesses: Aerobic exercise activates your immune system. This leaves you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu.
- Reduce health risks: Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
- Manage chronic conditions: Aerobic exercise helps lower high blood pressure and control blood sugar. If you’ve had a heart attack, aerobic exercise helps prevent subsequent attacks.
- Strengthen your heart: A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast. A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.
- Keep your arteries clear: Aerobic exercise boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol. The potential result? Less buildup of plaques in your arteries.
- Boost your mood: Aerobic exercise can ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.
- Stay active and independent as you get older: Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.
- Live longer: People who participate in regular aerobic exercise appear to live longer than those who don’t exercise regularly.
A pitch or pitch shot, usually played with a highly lofted club like a pitching or sand wedge, is designed to go a short distance with a high ball flight to land softly on the green.
Here are some basic fundamentals to help you become a better short game player.
1. Stance is narrow and open
2. Weight favors the target foot
3. Hands, arms, and shoulders form a triangle with the hands ahead of the ball at address position
4. Hinge your wrists on the backswing
5. Weight is retained on target foot
6. Accelerate your swing on the downswing, keep hands moving
7. Keep your target side firm as you finish swing
8. Distance determines the length of the swing