Symptom: You are topping, thinning, and scooping the ball despite all your best efforts to stop. Your iron shots just fly low and fast over the green, or skitter along the ground, or do anything but fly in the graceful arc you had hoped for. You just can't seem to hit down on the golf ball like your playing partners and those guys on TV, but sure wish you could...
Overview: Put the ball on a tee and push the tee all the way into the ground, as if the ball is not teed up at all. Now, focus on hitting the tee with the blade of your iron, not the ball, on the downswing.
Why it works: If you are topping the ball it means you are not hitting down on the ball, with a descending blow. You simply cannot hit a good iron shot without a descending blow (but you already know that, which is why you are here, right?). Fortunately, it is very easy to get the feel of the descending blow and the solid contact that comes with it.
Have a look at Phil Mickelson's iron shot below, taking note of the descending blow he puts on the ball. The ball is struck first, then the ground in front of the ball. Have a look:
The "ball on embedded tee" trick works because you know that there is a tee underneath the ball (you just put it there, after all), and your mission is to hit the tee, not the ball! In order to hit the tee, you will naturally hit the ball with a descending blow, which is the very thing you are after. Do this, and you will have no trouble taking your divot in front of the ball, where it belongs.
Once you get the hang of this, test yourself with a ball on the ground. It should look exactly the same as the ball you just hit off the (embedded) tee. No problem!
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