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Tiger Woods will return to competitive action this week at Riviera.
Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
The 2023 golf season is already off to a roaring start, but this week will be the biggest of them all. In just a few days, Tiger Woods will make his long-awaited return to competitive golf at the Genesis Invitational.
It’s always a big deal when Woods tees it up, but this one will have a little extra significance. As our own Dylan Dethier noted, this comeback happens at the place where his professional career started, and where his life nearly ended.
In honor of Woods’ latest return to competitive action, today’s Play Smart takes a look at a tip from Woods on a simple method for controlling the trajectory of your irons.
Woods has always been one of (if not the) best iron players on the planet, and his ability to alter trajectories and hit the proper windows is a big reason why.
And while you might assume that changing trajectories requires many changes in your swing, it’s actually quite the opposite. All you need to do is make some simple setup adjustments.
“My dad had a saying — what’s that acronym? K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid,” Woods says. “What he would tell me is, have three golf balls. The middle one is where I normally play it on an everyday, any shot. The back one is where I hit the low one, and the high one all I do is move it up one more ball.”
With the ball position slightly altered in the setup, Woods does not have to change much else about his swing to change the trajectory of the shot. The only thing left to feel is the release of his hands through impact.
“What I would try and feel, if I was going to hit one low, I’d try and feel as if my hands stop at my rib cage,” Woods says. “If I want to hit one high, I’d feel as if my hands stop over the top of my head.”
With those two minor alterations to his setup and release, Woods can control the trajectory of his irons with ease and attack any pin on the golf course.
“I keep it very simple,” Woods says.
If one of the best iron players on the planet keeps things simple, so should you.
Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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