iron play faults
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

In this video, Neil Tappin is joined by Tour Coach Liam James to look at the biggest iron play faults and how to fix them

Iron Play Faults... Fixed!

If you are struggling with your iron play, your short game will come under pressure. Here we take a look at three key iron play faults - missing short, pushes and pulls.

Missing short

Aside from frequent underclubbing, one of the main reasons club golfers come up short is poor contact. This simple drill can help you work on achieving the ‘ball first’ contact needed for solid striking and full distances. Place an alignment stick just inside the right heel at address. Focus on staying nice and still all the way to the top, then, when you swing down and through, the divot will be well after the stick.

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A lot of players move their heads away from the target too much as they take the club back. This shifts their weight a long way from the target, and if they don’t then move back across, they’re going to either hit the ground early or possibly thin it, neither of which gives you the full yardage. That's why it is far better not to move your head and weight across in the first place

This drill encourages you to move your weight towards the target through impact. Set up as usual but with the ball a couple of inches closer to the target than the clubhead. Again, keep nice and stable as you swing back. With the ball further forward, you must then really focus on shifting your weight towards the target to ensure good contact. It highlights the stability needed on the way back and how much you need to shift weight on the way through.

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Keep it still

I’m not saying keep things rigid, but with really consistent iron players, there’s not much movement away from the target at all. They keep everything really stable.

Pushes & pulls

How the left wrist looks at the top of the backswing can be a good indicator of how you’re likely to return the club to the ball.

Using a tee peg down the back of your glove that just overlaps the wrist joint, and by making some gentle practice swings, can give you a tell-tale hint if something is not right at the top. 


In a push, the ball starts right and stays right because the clubface is too open at some point. A root cause can be a cupped left wrist at the top, and you’ll feel a little pressure via the tee peg if you’re guilty of this. The left wrist should be flat with the tee peg pointing perfectly down your forearm. 

In a pull, the clubface is too closed as it comes back into the ball sending it left. This drill can alert you to a potential cause. Hold the club about a foot above the head and swing through. If the shaft strikes your left side just after you would have struck the ball, you’re probably flicking at it with the wrists and coming into impact with a closed clubface 

What you’re looking for as you swing through the ball is for the shaft to stay firmly away from your side as here. This will allow you to stabilise the clubhead through impact keeping the clubface nice and square and helping you to hit much straighter golf shots.

Groove the move

For the push drill, use the tee peg for two or three practice swings to really groove the move before taking it out and hitting shots for real with that new feel.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X