Wedges? We Don't Need No Stinking Wedges!

Drop it like it's hot.

Now that the grass is getting greener, and the thatch is getting thicker, it is time to learn how to work those wedges.  

During the winter, when the Bermuda grass is dormant, I suggest keeping it low by using the putter, the hybrid, or even the equator shot (see March 15th lesson) from off the green. But lushness is around the corner, and soft pillowy fairways open the door for some "tour like" action on the wedges.

For shots 100 yards and in (I am assuming less than a full sand wedge here), establish a base model wedge shot you can build off on each distance. Depending on the distance, you can modify the swing slightly.

  1. As a base model, shorten the back swing.  Make sure you do not go any higher than the left arm parallel to the ground. If you have too long of a back swing, than you would tend to slow the club head speed coming down, causing gravity to pull the club into the turf inches before the ball...the dreaded fat shot (see Jordan Spieth #12 at the Masters). A shorter back swing ensures acceleration through the impact zone and crisper contact. 
  2. Hinge the wrist so the shaft is a 90 degree angle to the left arm. This helps generate club head speed, allows forward shaft lean at impact (basically the angle created and held...the opposite of the flip or early release), and correlates to the amount of spin you can impart on the ball.  Hinge=Spin.  No Hinge=Roll.
  3. Start the downswing with a bump of the hip, then turn. Too many start the downswing out of sequence. Either by jamming the arms down with no movement of the lower body (the flip, the scold, the chili dip), or by rotating the entire body at once (the swipe across). Nope. The hip bump, then the rotation of the lower body, then the arms naturally release the club at impact.  Take a look at the image below (Thank you golfdigest.com). An alignment rod is placed by the left hip to bump. If you don't bump it, you are either out of sequence or hanging back.
  4. The finish. Follow through so that the club, the hips, and the chest point at the flag.  Now, there is variance to this, obviously, but this is a good ground rule. This ensures the body keeps turning, the arms keep moving, and the head turns to look up after impact (if the head stays down, you can't complete the swing).

Yes, there are all sort of things to work on that would help those wedge shots (adjust loft, impact drills, spin shots, flight trajectory, and more), but this is a good start to a solid base model to build your wedge game around.  

Apart from the technical tip, a free tip on equipment. Check your wedges.

  1. Wedge System - can be 2 wedges or 3 wedges but does not include the pitching wedge.
  2. Wedges should not be more than 5 degrees apart (2 wedges -50,55) (3 wedges 52, 56,60)
  3. Regrip your wedges each spring. It will feel new.
  4. Replace your wedges every 4 years. They need grooves to spin and control your ball.  
  5. I sell wedges. Buy them from me. Price match guarantee.