The pull in golf is a bit of a frustrating shot.
Of course, golfers who struggle with a slice will find that the pull isn’t all that bad.
However, the amount you pull the ball could end up causing you to be well off of your target line and left with having to recover.
Pulling your golf irons shots is not something you have to be stuck with forever.
Here are some main reasons golfers pull iron shots and how they can work toward fixing them.
Why Do I Pull Iron Shots? (Causes & Fixes)
The reason you pull irons is typically that the club comes over the top with a clubface that is slightly short.
Many players slice the ball when their club comes over the top.
However, if you have a clubface that is closed and comes over the top, the ball will end up left of the target.
In addition to pulling the ball from coming over the top, there are also times when you may pull the ball because of alignment, grip, overactive arms, and even improper golf equipment.
Let’s look at each of these reasons individually and discover if any of them could be the culprit causing you to pull your golf shots.
For most golfers who consistently pull the ball, the reason will be the same, day after day.
However, if the pull is a random shot for you, it could be a mix of reasons causing the issue.
Even without working as a golf professional, you should be able to use this information to help you eliminate the pull and become a better player.
1. Ball Too Far Forward In Stance
The first area to look at when you are struggling with any area of your swing is the ball position.
With a pulled shot, the most common mistake is a golf ball too far forward in the stance.
When your golf ball is too far forward, it can cause a pull because you essentially hit the ball late.
As you swing down and through the golf ball, you make contact when the club is already a little closed.
Golfers tend to rotate the face open and then back to square at impact and then close in the follow-through.
As you can imagine, if you come through the golf ball with the face a bit closed, it can cause the shot to pull quite strongly to the left.
The good news is that this is one of the easiest fixes when you are trying to work on a pull.
If you simply work on getting the ball back to the middle of your stance, you can see if the pull was caused by this ball position issue.
Most of the time, with irons, you will keep the ball in the center of your stance.
As you move up towards hybrids and fairway woods, you can push the ball up further in the stance.
The driver is the club where you will play the golf ball off the front heel.
Outside of that, the middle of the stance is where most of the golf shots are played from.
Using golf alignment sticks on the range when you practice can help you find the center position and then continue to set up consistently with each swing.
Another reason that golfers pull the ball is that their alignment is off.
Alignment in golf becomes tricky because it involves so many different areas of the game and stance.
For instance, you will have to be sure your feet are properly lined up as well as your hips, shoulders, hands, and the club head.
If one of these is aimed a bit to the left, it could be causing a pull.
One of the issues that most golfers deal with is their feet being turned toward the left of their target.
When this happens, you will end up pulling the club across you from time to time, and it causes the pull shot.
Luckily, alignment is another easy and quick fix.
The first thing you need to do is make sure you know what your line is.
We like to set up using a golf alignment stick.
The alignment stick will be placed on the ground pointing toward the target.
Then the clubface and the feet must be set up parallel to this line.
Last it’s crucial to check your shoulders and ensure they are not crossing over a line they shouldn’t be.
If everything is lined up the way it should be towards the target, the overall result will be a club that you can swing on the proper path.
Of course, your swing can still have issues, but it’s great not to start with these issues as you set up to hit your golf shots.
3. Grip Too Strong
Sometimes a golf grip is too strong, and it causes either a pull or a hook.
When a golf grip is too strong, the left hand (for right-handed players) is turned slightly to the right.
This means that instead of the thumb going down the center of the shaft it is down the right side.
For some golfers who have had a hard time with a slice, this stronger grip position can make a big difference.
However, for the most part, it’s much better to have a neutral grip when you can.
When the left hand is angled a bit more to the right, it means that the right hand takes a powerful position on the club.
Essentially, the right hand will be rotated a bit underneath the bottom of the club.
This gives the right hand a bit too much power in the swing and can sometimes cause players to turn the club over before they should.
Pulling the ball because the right hand has a little too much of a role in the swing will lead to you having to fix your grip.
The fix here is to work on your golf grip and get it back to neutral.
With this process, start by putting your left hand on the golf club so that it is straight down the middle of the shaft.
Then you will take your right hand and put it on the club so it feels a bit more on top of the club.
Stronger grips leave the right hand feeling more underneath the club while weaker grips allow the right hand to be a bit more on top of the club.
A grip change like this will make you feel uncomfortable as you are standing over the ball.
It takes a few rounds of golf to get used to this concept, so try to spend some time on the range working on it as well.
If it takes a few weeks to get yourself back to standard grip, that is completely normal.
4. Over The Top
Swinging the club over the top is perhaps the most common reason that you will pull your iron shots.
When you swing over the top, the ball will pull left because of the attack angle of the golf club.
Over-the-top swings come from a player who never really gets the club on the proper path on the downswing.
Some golfers can swing back on the plane, but when it comes to getting the club back down and through, they are not on the proper plane.
An over-the-top swing can cause a variety of misses based on the angle of your clubface.
If you have had this as an issue in your game for a while, you probably know it.
One of the best ways to see if over-the-top swings are a problem is to take a video of your golf swing and see the position of the club.
Chances are with an over-the-top swing, you can draw a simple line on the video and see the motion of the club approach from the outside as opposed to the inside.
There are several ways that you can fix an over-the-top motion into the ball.
One of the things we recommend first is to ensure that you are taking the club back on the proper path.
If you take your club back low and slow, chances are it will be on the proper path.
The transition at the top is where most golfers struggle to keep the golf club on the right track.
Here is where you will want to work on our favorite swing plane drill.
This simple drill requires you to take your golf glove and put it under your right armpit.
Take some swings where you feel like you can’t let go of this golf glove.
Do not let it hit the ground until you have finished hitting the ball.
Of course, you may feel a bit restricted at the very top of your swing, but that is not a problem.
The key is to ensure that you are feeling the body and arms stay a little more connected on the downswing.
This connection that the drill creates makes it so that your arms can’t come in over the top of the ball.
The arms essentially need to stay connected, and then it’s very hard to come over the top.
5. Overactive Arms
Overactive arms are another reason that you may pull a golf shot.
When our hands, arms, and lower body all work together, consistency in the golf swing is much easier to obtain.
However, if the arms take over and start doing their own thing, it’s really hard to get the golf shot straightened out.
Overactive arms lead to a golf club that is likely not square as it does not have any consistency in the way it is delivered to impact.
Staying connected in the golf swing will help not only eliminate pulls but to eliminate a slice or hook as well.
One of the best ways to stop overactive arms from hurting your golf game is to start your swing with the lower body.
Make sure that you have a slight turnback if you plan on taking the club back.
So many players start the backswing with hands, arms, and wrists, and when they do this, the difficulty becomes the timing and getting things to match up again.
If you can learn to control the arms, you will eventually get your body and arms working together and benefit greatly from the results.
Take a video of what your swing looks like when you start with your hips turning and another one where you start with your arms traveling back.
You will likely see a big difference in the performance.
Is A Pulled Golf Shot A Bad Shot?
A pulled golf shot is not a bad golf shot. It just simply shows that there is an issue in your swing that needs to be fixed.
Depending on how bad the pull is, you may notice that your golf ball still ends up on the green.
A really bad pull could have you hitting another shot if your ball ends up in the water or out of bounds.
One thing to remember about the pull shot is that you are still making relatively good contact, so the ball ends up going quite far.
In fact, some golfers will tell you that their pulled golf shots go further than their regular straight golf shots.
This is something that may be frustrating, but golfers should take straight and shorter shots any day they have the chance!
Are Pulls Hard To Fix?
Pull shots are not all that hard to fix.
However, if you are pulling the ball because your swing is over the top or your grip is incorrect, it can be a bit of an issue.
If instead, you are pulling the ball because you are setting up wrong, the fix may only take a few seconds.
The hard part is diagnosing what it is that causes you to pull the ball.
If you can figure that out, you can usually fix the pull without much trouble.
Hopefully, you now understand why you pull iron shots.
This is a miss that many golfers have to deal with.
You are not alone in your fight against the pulled shot.
One thing to keep in mind is that pulling a golf ball can be fixed by making a few adjustments in your swing.
Don’t worry about reinventing the wheel here.
Most of the time, a minor change is all that is necessary.
If you are struggling with a pull on the golf course and can’t fix it until you get off, simply aim just a little right of your target.
The ball may end up on the left-hand side of the green, but at least you won’t be putting yourself in more trouble.