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Question on Shot Making:

I get good height with my irons but can't make the ball stop or come back. Any suggestions?
--Mike W. from Saint Charles, MO

Hi Mike. Thanks for writing

If you are getting good height and the ball is descending at a fairly steep angle, the ball should definitely be stopping within a reasonable distance. This sounds like a ball fitting issue. I would check to make sure you are playing a ball that gives you both distance and spin or even just more spin if distance isn't an issue.

To make the ball actually spin back requires a few things that the average player is not aware of in most cases. When you see the pros suck it back 8 feet on the t.v., there are factors at play that you may not see.

First of all to create a large amount of spin, you must swing hard enough to create a lot of club head speed. For this reason a pro may suck back a full 9 iron a lot more than a half wedge. So expect your full swings with your high irons to move more than your pitch shots. Often times in lessons I find the student thinks they should be spinning a lot of their short shots around the green. This is not the case.

Next, the pros are playing balls that do spin. If the average player is hitting a distance ball that feels like a rock, they aren't going to get it to react like a ball with a softer cover would.

Conditions are an issue as well. Often you can't see on t.v. that the shots they are sucking back are actually being hit into a green that slopes back towards the player. If a green is flat or slopes away it's not as easy and when you talk downhill slope, almost impossible. The other condition that must exist is a clean lie with the blades of grass sloping towards the pin. If the grass is long or it's coming back into your club you will get grass caught between the clubface and ball. That will make it impossible for the grooves on your club to work with the dimples on the ball to create spin.

So if you have a clean lie, the green is sloping back towards you, you have a ball that spins, you have good technique and you are able to make a hard swing, then you can try to suck the ball back. Otherwise if you are trying to just get it to check up and stop more quickly, I'd say if you hit it high, it's either the ball you are playing or you are not hitting the ball flush in the face with a downward blow.

Try changing balls and if that doesn't help, write back and we can try to figure out if it's something in your technique.

I hope that helps!


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