GolfTEC Director of Club Fitting and Merchandise
For many of us the traditional golf season will be winding down soon, but that doesn't mean the time for learning has to end. There is still plenty of time to get out and improve key areas of your game including your short game. Practicing with your wedges, for example, is a great way to spend an hour after work, and can go a long way towards lowering your score. The key is knowing what to practice. Below are two skills that all good wedge players possess, and that you can improve with some guidance from your Coach and a little practice.
Know Your Distances
Knowing how far your ball will travel compared to the length of your swing is the first step to improving your wedge game. A good starting point is to determine how far the ball goes with a backswing that stops with the left arm parallel to the ground (9:00 position). This will give you a reference point you can rely on and take to the course, and is easily modified for shots that are slightly shorter or longer. If you determine that your sand wedge goes 50 yards with a left-arm-parallel swing, you not only have a club for that distance, but you also know that with a slight change in the length of your swing you can add or subtract 10 yards of carry distance.
This exercise will also help you determine if you have a "gap" issue within your wedges. For example, you may find that with this exercise your pitching wedge goes 80 yards but that your sand wedge only goes 50. The 30-yard "gap" between the two clubs is significant enough that you may benefit from a gap wedge that goes 65 yards with the same left arm parallel swing. A GolfTEC Coach is available to help determine your specific needs and make the appropriate recommendations for your unique situation.
Control Your Trajectory
Another key to a successful wedge game is the ability to control your trajectory. There are times when the situation calls for a low, driving shot and other times where a higher, softer landing shot is needed. There are two primary ways to alter the trajectory of your shots — change to a club with more/less loft, or change the position of the ball in your stance. The easiest way is to change clubs, but there are times when it is more effective to adjust ball position.
Next time you're practicing try three ball positions using the same club and the same length of swing. All things being equal you should see three different height shots that will also roll different amounts. Developing the skill to control trajectory will give you more success on windy days and give you more options when you need to control how much ball roll you get.
As always, GolfTEC and your Certified Personal Coach™ are committed to your success and are here to help. If you have questions about how to improve your wedge game, check with your Coach today and get started before the season passes you by.