Many otherwise competent golfers have great difficulty in playing their long irons. In a large way this comes from a lack of confidence in their ability to handle these shots. Since no one can teach confidence, the best assistance one can give, I think, is to explain to these golfers how they can examine their swing for the errors which most commonly throw off long-iron play and, consequently, cut into a player's confidence.
First, check to see if you are overswinging—trying to get your club back as far as you do on your woods. If you find you are, shorten your backswing. When you are hitting the ball on the target again, then you can lengthen your backswing a bit at a time, and distance will come.
Second, if you are pulling your long irons, check your finish. Perhaps you haven't allowed your weight to move over to the left leg. Holding your weight back on the right will cause a pull. Taking your club back too much on the inside also does.
And third, if you're pushing your long irons off to the right, you should again check your finish. You are probably quitting or not following through all the way. Make sure that your clubhead is finishing over your left shoulder. If that is in order, then check your backswing to see that the club is not being taken back too far on the outside.
ART SMITH, the Camargo Club, Cincinnati
NEXT TIP: Al Besselink on keeping square from start to finish