Henrik Stenson: Ball Striking Tips

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Henrik Stenson: Stability and synchronisation for pure irons

Ball-striking has always been the foundation of my game. I place a great deal of emphasis on creating a consistent and stable address position that enables me to keep everything connected and use the ground as I swing.

This creates a swing that produces powerful and accurate iron shots. This is what I focus on to strike the ball purely with my irons.

An Athletic And Stable Address Position 

Give your arms room to move
My main thought as I address the ball is 'get in and over it'. This encourages me to tilt my upper body forward enough for my arms to hang away from my torso. This gives them the freedom to load and unload. I used to stand a little too upright, so I'd lose the connection between my arms and upper body during the swing. I like to initially address it with the clubhead just inside the ball to remind me to create that room between my hands and the body.

Don't change the ball position
I don't change my ball position for most iron shots. If I'm hitting a 7-iron, I'll put it just ahead of centre in my stance. If I'm hitting a 4-iron, the ball will be in the same place relative to my left foot, but I'll move my right foot slightly farther away from the target to create a wider stance. This keeps the bottom of my swing in the same place for every shot, while slightly changing the angle the clubhead comes into the ball for the optimum strike with each iron.

Connected Takeaway
Good posture and that forward tilt at address permits a co-ordinated move away from the ball. The arms can swing under your sternum and in sync with the body motion to keep the club on plane in the backswing.

Use The Ground For Power And Stability 

Favour a shorter backswing
Everything should arrive at the top together. A good upper body coil helps the swing come to a natural stop with the shoulders loaded over a stable base with relatively little hip rotation. Make what feels like a comfortable arm swing. This might only be a three-quarter motion. A long and loose move with your arms makes it almost impossible to come back to the ball precisely, but a more controlled swing will give you plenty of speed and a more consistent and e cient strike

Start the downswing with your legs
My lower body initiates the transition into the downswing. You want to feel like you're pressuring down from your thighs into the ground. My upper body used to race ahead in the downswing, causing me to come up and out of the shot early, which cost me distance and accuracy. But now one of my key swing thoughts is to grind down into the turf with my feet as I transition from backswing to downswing. That gives me the magic combination of stability and power through impact. 

Extend The Arms
I like to fully release and extend my arms through impact. This increases leverage and helps push the club down and through for a solid strike. You've got to hit down to compress it and downward force takes away rotational force, so the face will stay squarer.