How To Hit Your Irons Straight

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Barney Puttick shares his advice on how to hit your irons straight using a simple alignment stick drill...

How To Hit Your Irons Straight

Wouldn't it be brilliant to know how to hit your irons straight every time? The thought of consistent ball-striking, more greens in regulation and plenty of birdie opportunities might seem a little out of reach... but it doesn't have to be. 

We have called on the services of Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Barney Puttick to share his advice and a simple drill that will help you improve your iron-play in time for the new season...

How to hit your irons straight: The underlying causes

As with any bad shot, diagnosing the causes is crucial before setting out a plan for making improvements. It may come as a surprise that the push shot actually derives from the hook family, with the club path approaching the ball too far from the inside and the clubface square to that path. So if you want to stop pushing the ball, it's worth knowing how to fix a hook.

Similarly, if you pull iron shots, this comes from the same family as the slice. For this fault, it is likely that you are cutting across the ball or your swing is coming over the top. Either way, analysing and understanding the issue is the start of the process towards improvement.

How to hit your irons straight with Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Barney Puttick

Grip Check

In order to hit a straighter shot with your irons, it's important to take time perfecting the golf grip. When looking for visual checkpoints, take a look at the 'v' shape between your thumb and your forefinger on your right hand, as this should be pointing towards your right shoulder.

If the 'v' is pointing to your chin, this can cause a push shot as the clubface will be open at impact. If the 'v' point to the right of your right shoulder and often will result in a pull shot. If you know that your grip is causing you problems in your golf swing, it is worth developing your understanding of the strong vs weak golf grip.

Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Ben Emerson demonstrating a neutral golf grip

(Image credit: Future)

Over the stick drill

Set-up an alignment stick about five yards in front of you, on the correct target line, and aim to hit the ball directly over the stick.

To do this, your arms will need to go down the line rather than out to the right (as they would in a push) or in to the left (as they would for a pull).

Barney Puttick
Top 50 Coach

Location: Mid Herts Golf Club

Barney turned professional in 1979 and gained the Assistant Professional position at Dyrham Park Golf Club. He played full time before becoming Head Professional at Ramsey Golf Club in 1987. He can now be found teaching at Mid Herts Golf Club. Barney's favourite golfing memory is tying Greg Norman for third place in a 36-hole tournament in Cannes.

Teaching philosophy:

My goal with every student is to work with the player and what they possess rather than impose a prescriptive style for everyone. The key, for me, is improving players' fundamentals and their impact factors, and setting of that all important chain of events of one good move leading to another. 

Typical lesson:

Technology makes it possible for everyone to see their swing and get their numbers. My job is to unravel them and give the player a positive set of ideas to take away after the session. Using swing drills and drawing sporting comparisons to the swing - for example, throwing a ball - the player can improve quite quickly once they put these into practice. 

Significant influences:

I was fortunate to spend my formative years working for Ian Connelly, Nick Faldo's early mentor. He instilled in me the love of the art form that is coaching, and I still use some of his ideas to this day. Latterly, I enjoyed Bobby Clampett's ideas on the swing, as he was a phenomenal player with a quirky action. His ideas on impact have aligned to my teaching. I have also been blessed to spend time with Mike Bender, Zach Johnson's long time coach.