Today we have many players who can handle a course pretty easily when a good long drive leaves them only pitches to the green which they can flip up there with a seven-, eight-, nine-iron or wedge. Put these same players, though, on a somewhat longer and stiffer course that requires hitting a fair percentage of the second shots with the middle irons and occasionally a long iron, and they have a lot of trouble hitting the greens as regularly as they should. They're not putting for birds. They spend their afternoon scrambling for their pars.

As I look at it, the present dearth of solid iron players is traceable to the widespread fault of quitting at impact—thinking the shot is over when the ball is contacted. Of course, no one thinks he is quitting at impact, but the fact of the matter is that this is what a great many players do when they play the three-, four- and five-irons. They don't keep the club moving toward the target. They come off the ball before the shot is completed.

To be a good iron player, work to stay with the shot. Keep that club head moving toward the target as your right side rides through and you hit against a firm left side. Ride with the ball.

from ED OLIVER, Blue Hill Country Club, Canton, Mass.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONincorrect ILLUSTRATIONcorrect: Ed Oliver stays with the shot

NEXT WEEK: HELEN DETTWEILER ON LAZY DOES IT

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)