Tip – Using Your Wedges

One of the most difficult type of shot in golf is the short shot from a few inches off the green to over 100 yards away. For the low-mid handicap golfer, this almost always involves the use of a wedge. Here is a great article from Jack Moorehouse, everyman golfer and author of the best-selling book “How to Break 80 and Shoot Like The Pros”.

Players with low golf handicaps feature common swing elements when hitting full swing wedge shots. Below are six keys.

1. Open Up

Watch a good wedge player and you’ll see him/her keep the lower body quiet. Since you don’t need a lot of power to hit a wedge, you don’t need a lot of lower body action. But you can’t hit a sound wedge shot without opening your hips. The best place to do it is at address. Opening up your stance allows you to use your arms and shoulders to hit the shot without using your lower body.

2. Hinge the Wrists

Poor players try sweeping, scooping, or lifting the ball in the air when hitting a wedge shot. Good players

CC image courtesy of Samuel Globus on Flickr

CC image courtesy of Samuel Globus on Flickr

hit down and through, creating a nice big divot. One of the secrets to hitting down is wrist hinge. If you don’t hinge your wrists, you’ll sweep the ball off the floor. Most pros advocate an early hinge. In fact, start your wrist bend at take away. If you wait until the midpoint of your backswing, you may never hinge.

3. Adjust Your Backswing

Tempo is a constant in golf. Backswing length isn’t. Never add speed or apply the brakes to control the distance of a shot. The length of the backswing, not the speed of the swing, dictates shot distances with your wedges – actually with any club. Learn how far you hit each wedge with 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent backswing lengths. Since the full-swing wedge shot we’re talking about could be 36, 42, or 53 yards away, you’ll now have options with which to hit the shot. Remember, adjust your backswing, not your tempo.

4. Maintain the Position of Your Front Shoulder

Poor wedge players often lift their heads when approaching the ball. While that in itself isn’t a major crime, it forces you to bring your front shoulder up and out. Work on allowing your head to rotate along with your back shoulder as it swings underneath your chin. Rotating facilitates the shifting of weight to the front side, keeps the spine angle intact, and allows the back shoulder to move toward the target.

5. Keep It Low

There’s a saying in golf that you don’t high five other players, you shake hands like gentlemen. In other words, keep your hand low after impact on a full-swing wedge shot, almost as if you were about to shake hands with someone to the side of you. Why? One sign of a solid wedge shot is low hands after impact, which indicates hitting down and through. Finishing high tends to negate weight shift and hinders your ability to hit down and through the ball. So keep it low after impact and you’ll improve the result.

6. Pose for the Camera

A good swing and a good finish usually go hand in hand. Take a few practice swings, not with the focus on mechanics, but on making a nice comfortable finish. So take some practice swings and finish by posing for the camera before hitting a wedge shot. Think finish first in this situation. It can help generate a smooth swing and a better result.

There you have it – six elements common to all sound wedge shots. There are more that we could discuss, but if you follow these when hitting a wedge shot, you’ll eventually master wedge play from 75, 50, 25, or any short distance. Do that and you’ll put yourself in an exclusive club – players with low golf handicaps.

Good luck out there.

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