The Secret To Better Iron Contact

better iron contact

Many players today struggle with consistent contact when hitting their irons. Whether it be the thin shot that rattles the fingers for the next 3 holes or the dreaded chunk sending the divot further than the ball. A deeper look at your setup and impact position will help you make better iron contact.

Steps to Better Iron Contact


jack nicklaus iron setup position

When you place the sole of the iron flat on a hard surface, such as a sidewalk, you’ll notice that the butt end of the grip is in front of the leading edge. With short irons, it’s much further in front than long irons but it’s still in front. It only makes sense that this is the position you want the club to be in at impact. Jack illustrates this excellently above.

Remember, with short irons, the ball goes in the middle of the stance and progresses forward with long irons. Pair this with having the grip in front of the leading edge and you’ll understand what a good setup looks like. We can’t forget about the last setup secret for better iron contact, the hands.

The vast majority of my students get the ball in the correct position. However, they make the mistake of not paying attention to where their hands are at address. The key to a great setup is having the hands in the same position with every club;   approximately even with the front knee. In keeping your hands in the same place but moving the ball position, the shaft angle changes on its own. This setup allows you to get the club in the correct setup position for the next secret to better iron contact, impact position.

Impact Position

tiger woods at impact

Your club is starting in the correct position. “Now what?” you ask. The goal is to get your club in the same position at impact as it was in setup. To do this, swing the club by rotating your body, letting the arms follow while doing nothing with the hands.  Natural instinct often causes players to hit “at” the ball with their hands instead of letting the hands and clubhead follow the body. Keep in mind that the hands should still be in front of the clubhead at impact. Swinging the club with your hands immediately compromises this possibility at the start of the downswing.

When making your downswing, focus on two things. First, really pay attention to your grip pressure. The goal here is to keep your grip pressure constant throughout the entire swing. Any tightening of the grip pressure is a result of trying to swing the club with your hands, resulting in inconsistent impact position and contact.

The second thought to focus on is the butt end of the club again. Instead of thinking about getting the clubhead back to the ball, focus on bringing the butt end of the grip to the ball. Doing this and keeping the same grip pressure gets the clubhead lagging behind, naturally catching up at impact, and putting it in the perfect position to hit solid, consistent shots.

Now You Know

The secrets for better iron contact lie in your setup and impact position. While setting up, keep the shaft forward, the ball in the right position and the hands in the same place. Swinging with your body, relaxing your grip and bringing the butt end of the grip to the ball gets you in the right impact position. Practice these and you’ll be getting better iron contact in no time!

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Rudi Fann

Rudi Fann has been a Class “A” member of the PGA of America since 2008. He began his career in 1998 as the Assistant Golf Professional at Wake Forest Golf Club in Wake Forest, NC. In 2002, Rudi accepted a similar position at Rio Mar Country Club in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. He spent a year there before moving to Nipomo, CA where he worked at Blacklake Golf Resort. Over the next 10 years, he worked his way from Assistant Golf Professional to Head Golf Professional and finally Director of Golf Operations. In his time at Blacklake, Rudi devoted much of his time to running tournaments and other activities in order to create a social atmosphere at the club. After Blacklake, Rudi spent one year as Head Golf Professional at Paso Robles Golf Club before deciding to return home to North Carolina. Since returning to North Carolina, Rudi has worked with the First Tee of the Triangle helping to instill life skills and core values through the game of golf to local youth.