June 25, 2008

Don't Stretch Your Wedges

Take more club and swing easy from the top

Yes: If your lower body leads the downswing, the club will stay inside. no: If you try to kill it, you'll swing from the outside and hit it left.

Yes: If your lower body leads the downswing, the club will stay inside.

no: If you try to kill it, you'll swing from the outside and hit it left.

Many golfers choose to hit a hard wedge when they really need a longer club to reach the green. I guess it's a macho thing, as in "I hit driver-wedge into No. 14 today."

The problem with trying to stretch your full-wedge distance is that you'll tend to start the downswing with an aggressive arm or shoulder move. That pushes the club away from your body, causing an out-to-in path through impact (top right). The shot will miss left of the green.

Instead, start your down-swing from the ground up, shifting to your front foot as your hands and arms drop into the hitting position. The club will stay to the inside (top left). If your wedge won't get you to the green with that swing, go with another club.

Ranked No. 1 by his peers among Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, Harmon runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev. Click here for more tips from Butch.