[Editor’s Note: The following article was written by Todd Casabella, Director of Instruction at Grey Hawk Golf Club in Lagrange. Todd is a member of the Professional Golfers’ Association of America and a TPI Certified Golf Fitness Instructor.]
Golf is a difficult game. When someone new takes up the sport they spend a considerable amount of time learning how to grip the club, set up to the ball, and align to the target and swing. Golfers have always been taught that its one swing for every club. While this is true for the beginner, modern technology is showing us that this isn’t necessarily true for the advanced player. In the past it’s been accepted that you’ll either be a good iron player or a good driver of the golf ball but not both. Now we know that you can be both as long as you can adapt to the differences. Let’s discuss the differences in hitting a driver and an iron.
The first obvious difference is that the ball is on the ground when hitting an iron and it’s on a tee when you hit a driver. This subtle difference creates a somewhat complex problem. Remember the golf swing moves in a circle around your body. The golf club approaches the golf ball moving down at an angle on an arc from the inside of the target line. The club squares to the target line, bottoms out, then moves back up to the inside. This is with all of the clubs. The difference is the bottom of the swing and the location of the ball. With an iron the bottom of the swing is in front of the golf ball. That’s why when hitting an iron the divot should begin in front of the ball, closer to the target. With a driver, the bottom of the swing is behind the ball (and hopefully no divot). In order for the ball flights to be similar there has to be a difference in the swing.
Let’s say for the sake of this discussion your ball striking with your irons is good but you have trouble with the driver. When this is the case, usually, the ball moves too much from left to right (slice). To adjust to the ball locations change in the arc, you would need to make these subtle changes with the driver setup and swing. First drop the right foot slightly back so that your feet are aimed slightly right of the target. Your whole body should respond by aligning with your feet. Second when you swing the club you want to aggressively release your arms and feel as though your back stays facing the target longer. This will encourage the club to travel from the inside longer, allowing the club to release and close sooner. This is needed in order to start the ball closer on the target line.
If your problem is the opposite, you drive it well but can’t hit the irons, do the opposite. When hitting your irons play the ball a little further back in your stance and be sure to open your feet to the target line.
Practice these changes and you should start to see your drives matching your approach shots. Good luck on the links!
To schedule a lesson, give him a call at 440.225.5022.