10 Rules For Wedging It Close

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7. A good test: hit with one hand:
A few years ago John Daly and I were shooting a Winn Grips commercial, and during a break he started hitting these 30-yard pitches holding the club with just his left hand. Virtually every ball nestled right up to the hole--it was amazing! John said it was a drill to work on holding the angle of the left wrist.


Natalie Gulbis' 10 Rules for wedging it close.

Another time I saw Butch making Freddie Couples hold a wedge in just his right hand. Freddie was having chipping trouble that day, and this drill was to help him with his wrist set and release. So no matter what's ailing your wedge game, chances are a one-hand drill can help.

8. Your grips must fit your hands:
For the longest time I used cord grips with two wraps of tape underneath. They were really thick and tough on my hands, and I guess I played them because I knew good players who did the same. But soon after I turned pro, I noticed I was holding my wedges too tightly, so I switched down to midsize. Not long after that I went down to standard size. The grips I now play are half the weight of my old ones, and I can feel the clubhead so much more during the swing. Simply matching your grips to your hand size can improve your feel better than anything.

9. Make changes, wedges first:
I once hurt my back swinging a weighted training club too aggressively. The injury was actually a blessing because it forced me to learn better posture. This swing change--standing more upright--was easiest to make with my wedges at first. The shafts are shorter and the swings are shorter, so it made it easier to get comfortable with the new positions. Whatever technique you're working on, even if it's just a simple change to your address position, get it solid with your wedges first, and it will creep into the rest of your bag.

10. Find a spark for getting better:
At Butch's school there are new Titleist Pro V1s, and there are also regular range balls. Butch's rule is, you can't use the good balls until you win a pro tournament.

In my fourth year on tour I made the Solheim Cup team and finished sixth on the money list. Even though I still hadn't won, Butch said I could use the good balls. I said no, that practicing with the beat-up balls motivates me. Then in my sixth year I won the Evian Masters. When I got back to the range in Las Vegas, there was a pyramid of new TaylorMade tour balls stacked for me. Butch had special-ordered them from my sponsor. Point is, plan a reward for yourself: It will drive you harder to improve.

Dan Winters
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