Many golfers run into trouble when they are forced to hit shots that don’t require a full swing. Usually this falls between 20 to 75 yards. Trying to get around this many amateurs would rather hit the full 60 degree wedge than the knock down half pitch shot.
So why is it difficult?
A couple of reasons jump out. Firstly, everything tends to get out of sync when it’s not a full shot. The body slows down as you know a full swing isn’t required and the arms takeover. This often results in mis-strikes. Secondly, the subtle changes between hitting it 73 and 79 are hard to change from just thinking about a shorter swing, and often, you still haven’t decided how to commit half way through your down swing.
How to improve
There are different ways to vary the distance of your wedge shots. I recommend starting out by selecting a few positions in your backswing that you can relate to, and with some practice, can comfortably repeat. For example:
1. ¼ swing: club parallel to the floor (Lead arm 8 o’clock)
2. ½ swing: lead arm parallel to the ground (9 o’clock)
3. ¾ swing: hands level with shoulder (10 o’clock)
This gives you a reference point to build on. I also recommend controlling your follow through to a similar distance through to control the speed and aid repetition.
Once you have this baseline, record your distances, ensuring a consistent ball position and weight in your stance to find a repeatable motion.
For Advanced Players
Better players can start to work down the grip to take off yards. Begin to build different launch angles by varying the shaft lean at impact or moving the ball position and get a feel for spin and how the ball releases.
Wedge play really is an art form that can have a huge impact on your game. Whatever level of golfer you are, working on this part of your game constructively and deliberately will lower your scores. GUARANTEED.
Here are some targets relative to your handicap/scoring goals.
BREAKING 100: Get down in 3 from 50 yards and in
BREAKING 90: Get down in 3 from 80 yards and in
BREAKING 80: Get down in 2 from 80 yards and in
BREAKING 70: Get down in 2 from 120 yards and in
Make sure you reach out if you want to dive into this area in more detail.
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