Open Up on Short Irons
Ben Hogan had the right attitude on short-iron shots. He said, “I want to be known as the man who hit them the straightest, not the longest.”
The 8-iron, 9-iron, and wedges are the control clubs, after all, so there’s no point in trying to slug them. I do give these irons a full swing, but I enhance my control with an important change at address. Whereas I address the longer clubs in a square stance – my feet, knees, hips, and shoulders aligned parallel to a line extending from my ball to my target – on the short irons, I open things up a bit. I pull my left foot back a few centimetres from that parallel line, thus rotating my hips, knees, and shoulders a few degrees counterclockwise so that I’m aligned a bit to the left of my target.
This stance facilitates a more upright backswing and a more descending attack on the ball which, on the 8-iron, 9-iron, and wedges, will encourage a straight or softly left- to-right shot with a high, soft trajectory yet lots of backspin on landing.