How to Hit Irons Straight Every Time, According to Experts

By Nick Heidelberger

golf iron club straight drills

How many times have you thought to yourself “If I could just hit my irons straight I’d be playing the best golf of my life!”? Between today’s stat-tracking apps that chart your yardages, and laser-rangefinders that pinpoint exact distances to a target, golfers have no excuse for distance errors on well-struck shots. That means that if you can simply learn how to hit your irons straight, you can capitalize on good tee shots more often and hit more greens, which is guaranteed to lower your scores.

3 Drills to Hit Irons Straight Every Time

There are three types of misses on a well-struck -- meaning a descending, ball-first blow somewhere near the center of the clubface -- iron shot: a push, a pull, or an alignment error. Shanks, chunks, and skulls are different beasts altogether and don’t reside in the “well-struck” neighborhood. If one of those is haunting you, seek immediate help.

Fortunately, alignment errors, pushes, and pulls are relatively easy to fix, and doing so will make a significant difference in your scores. Here are three simple and easy drills to help you hit your irons straight every time.

Aim With Your Eyes

The reason you’ve heard the “practice makes perfect” adage countless times is because there’s some truth to it. To fix your aim, rehearse this “Aim With Your Eyes” procedure on the driving range until it’s second nature.

Start from behind the ball and as you step into your setup, use your eyes to mentally draw your target line from your target to the ball. To help ensure you set up square to the target line you’ve just visualized, pick a reference point along that line, a yard or so beyond the ball - perhaps a leaf or discolored patch of grass.

Aim your clubface square to your target line so a straight line from the center of your clubface to the target will run directly through the center of the ball and your intermediate target.

Now all that’s left to do is set your feet and make your swing.

Fix The Push Shot

If you’re a right-handed player missing to the right, you’re pushing the ball. As teaching professional Chuck Cook describes, the push shot happens when the club extends outward away from your body through impact. To fix this you simply need to work on rotating your trail shoulder past your lead shoulder by the time you finish your swing. In a proper finish, that trail shoulder should be hovering over your lead foot

To work on this position with a visual checkpoint, take your stance and extend a club from the big toe on your lead foot. Then, grab the umbrella from your bag and stick it in the ground on the line extended from your lead toe, outside of the ball.

Now, hit shots making an effort to get your trail shoulder to finish in front of the umbrella. Doing this will force you to bring the club through the ball in an in-to-in manner, rather than the in-to-out path that results in a push.

Eliminate Pulled Iron Shots

If you’re suffering from pulled iron shots, Cook has a fun drill to fix this miss and get you hitting your irons straight.

When your trail elbow separates from your body in the backswing, it often leads to a pull. The proper move to fix this flaw is to get that trail elbow close to, and pointing toward, your trail hip at the top of the backswing.

If you suffer from what Cook refers to as a “flying right elbow” try his headcover drill. Simply pull a headcover off one of your woods and stuff it under your trail armpit. First, simply practice making backswings while keeping the headcover securely in place. Once you’ve got that feeling down, take it to the next level by hitting shots with the headcover under your arm. If the headcover drops during your follow-through, that’s fine, but if it falls during your backswing, that means your elbow is flying again.

Once you’re mastered this, set the headcover aside and replicate the feeling of keeping your elbow tighter to your body throughout your swing, and watch the ball fly straighter down your target line.

Bottom Line

Hitting straight iron shots is key to good golf, and as with most aspects of the game, your misses will ebb, flow, and evolve over time. These three drills will help straighten out your miss, whether your push becomes a pull or your alignment gradually falls out of whack.

Image: Rohan Gohil/EyeEm via Getty Images

About the Author

Nick Heidelberger is the Editor of GolfLink. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and has been an avid golfer for more than 10 years. In the years prior to joining GolfLink, he worked for the New England Section of the PGA of America.