Not many players are more rewarding to watch when in full flow than Tiger Woods, particularly when the 15-time major champion has an iron in his hand.
And when I saw he’d sat down with Golf TV to offer some insight into this side of his game, I was all ears. So here are the best bits and hopefully we can all learn something from the GOAT…
Tiger Woods on… the mistake we all make
“Get fitted, first of all.
“If a club’s too upright, generally, you’ll hit left, too flat, you’re gonna hit it right.
“Now, once you’re fit properly, then it’s up to you to do the work and try and hit the ball solid and try and hit shots more consistently, but I probably took it for granted.
“All I knew is that clubs always fit me. Instead of me fitting the golf club.”
Tiger Woods on… his iron play
“Pretty much my entire life I’ve been a pretty good iron player. I’ve always shaped the golf ball both ways. And kind of manoeuvred it around.
“I grew up in an era when the ball was spun a lot. And the object of the game was how could you take spin off? That was the hardest thing.
“How can I get this ball to keep it from peeking above the tree-line?
“Maybe I’ve taken it for granted, but I’ve always felt comfortable shaping the ball both ways and changing trajectory because we all did it in that era.
“Most people don’t really think that way anymore.”
Tiger on… how he feels his shots
“I’ve always played a lot with my hands.
“I control a lot of my speed and what I do with my hand speed.
“I’ve never really been one to focus on what my body’s doing.
“When I’m controlling trajectory and controlling shots, a lot of that has been my hands.
“My swing has morphed, I’ve done things with different instructors. But, at the end of the day, it’s about making the little adjustments right before impact to try and figure out where that club is at and sensing where it’s at.
“Because, at the end of the day, that’s the only connection we have with our golf club is our hands.
“So if you’re not feeling it with your hands then what connection do you have with the golf club?
“Now, what length I choke up on the club or use full length depends on what shot I’m going to hit.
“What trajectory, what window I’m going to put it through.
“So this is all stuff I’m trying to take into account, but these are all adjustments.”
Tiger Woods on… his process
“One of the reasons I’ve been a pretty good iron player over the years is that I take all that into account and make the fluid adjustment.
“We’re not always going to make the most perfect back swing, perfect down swing.
“We may hear wind in the trees coming up a little bit and make the adjustment with the hands to take some spin off if you feel a gust.
“All of a sudden, the flag might lay down and that means at the green the wind is doing something different than here.
“Or I need to add a little speed because this ball’s going to come in too flat. Different speeds will produce different shots.
“If I want to hit a cut shot, I’m going to have a little more body speed because, obviously, the cut’s not going to go as far.
“And so, got to have a little more speed to swing left, clear left. Get everything rotated. The draw’s probably a little bit slower. But then again, it’s the low draw or high cut.
“Then you add in the variance of lies, uphill, downhill, side hill. And the other variance we always have to deal with is a little puff of wind.
“And where it’s coming from. So that changes my speed quite a bit.”
Tiger Woods on… the golf ball
“It’s harder to work the golf ball so when the wind blows, or I get in conditions where I shape the golf ball, I feel comfortable.
“But also I’ve stayed with the spinnier ball as well.
“I could hit further with a harder golf ball, but it would take away my flexibility that I have with my iron game. In order to shape the golf ball, you’ve got to have spin.
“It’s more advantageous to be able to go both ways on the curvature of the golf ball, especially when the wind blows. That gives you more options.
“You don’t feel so… pigeon-holed on a certain shot.
“I can’t go after this flier because I don’t have a shot that gets me over there. I do.”
You can watch the series on the Golf TV website.