When it comes to hitting a solid shot with your irons, most beginner golfers struggle mightily with launching the ball into the air. In order to send the ball with an ideal trajectory, golfers are required to hit down on it. By nature, this is counterintuitive. Thankfully, we’re here to help.
In this, the first part of a five-part series on iron drills you can do to improve your iron play, we explore the wood block drill.
Wood block drill
Before we get started into the drill, it’s first important to understand fully the need to hit “down” on the ball when hitting with their irons. As previously mentioned, many amateur golfers when first starting out tend to sweep up upon impact in an attempt to “lift” the ball into the air. This is an incorrect approach to hitting a golf ball.
Instead, golfers should work towards a swing path that ultimately enables a downward motion at impact. The spin created by making an impact with the golf ball in this downward manner will create an ideal launch and trajectory.
So, now that you understand the importance of “hitting down on the golf ball” at impact when using your irons, what’s next? Like most techniques in golf, iron play requires a high frequency of drills to help make the “right way” a habit.
One of our favorite drills to promote the ideal launch conditions with your irons is the wood drill. And, fortunately for you, it was designed to be simple, effective and easy to provide instant feedback.
How to set up at the driving range
Made popular by leading golf swing instructor and CBS golf commentator Peter Kostis, this drill utilizes a piece of wood to help golfers understand just how ahead of the ball their hands must be at impact in order to successfully “hit down” on the golf ball.
- To try the wood drill, begin by setting yourself up at the driving range. Place a 2×4 or another comparable block of wood just outside your normal swing path.
- Prior to hitting the ball, place the face of your clubhead on the end of the wood block. Now, attempt to move the block of wood with your club, taking care not to strike it but rather slide it using your clubface.
- You’ll surely notice that it’s quite difficult to push the block of wood anywhere. Press your hands forward (down range) until you have enough leverage and strength to move the block of wood.
This exercise shows you immediately the approximate location of where your hands should be when you make an impact with the golf ball. Achieving that position at impact — with your hands ahead of the golf ball — will enable a downward motion, which will send your ball flying with great trajectory.
To make the most from the drill, continue to press on the wood block before a number of actual swings, allowing muscle memory to set in.
— Ben Larsen