How to Stop Leaving Iron Shots Short

Leaving your iron shots short can add strokes to your score. That's not a good thing if you are trying to lower your handicap or beat your buddies in a friendly match.

Leaving your approach shots short of the green can be especially costly. The goal of any approach shot should be to place the ball as close to the hole as possible.

  1. Know how far you hit each club. Practice hitting your wedges, short irons and long irons at a driving range that has yardage markers.

  2. Keep track of how far you hit each club on average. During a round, match the distance you usually hit a particular iron with the yardage to the green or your intended target.

  1. Make crisp contact with the ball to stop leaving your iron shots short.

  2. Hitting too far behind the ball causes the clubhead to dig into the ground before you make contact.. Golfers refer to this as hitting the ball "fat." The result is often a weak shot that travels less than the expected distance. Striking the ball with a descending blow is the key to making crisp contact on iron shots, according to "Golf Tips" magazine.

  1. Learn to play the wind. Hitting into a strong wind can cause your ball to stop short of the target.

  2. Hit a less-lofted club than you need if there is a strong breeze in your face. For example, if you are 130 yards out and that's the usual distance for your 9-iron, adjust for wind in your face by hitting an 8-iron.

  1. Practice your alignment, ball position, posture and balance with the help of a professional instructor. Poor fundamentals can cause short shots.

  2. Failing to complete your follow through or not properly shifting your weight during the swing also can cause iron shots to fall short.

  3. A PGA or LPGA professional can spot problems with your swing in one lesson and give you a list of items specific to your swing to work on. Work on the fundamentals as much as you can until good habits become ingrained.