How He Hit That: Patrick Reed's eagle wedge shot

January 13, 2015

Patrick Reed has no shortage of confidence. At the Tournament of Champions, he backed his words up with wedges--specifically this 83-yard lob wedge on the short 16th at Kapalua.

Reed stuck his approach four feet beyond the hole and watched it back up into the cup, pulling him within two of Jimmy Walker. Reed birdied 18 to tie, then made another birdie on the first playoff hole to beat Walker and earn his fourth PGA Tour title.

The precise distance and direction control in Reed's wedge game comes from preserving the loft on the face of the club through impact, says top New York teacher Michael Jacobs. "In the wedge game, you don't want to have the forearms rolling the clubhead a lot through impact, like you might with the driver," says Jacobs, who is based at the X Golf School in Manorville, Long Island. "You want the release to feel like it happens later, and softer. You won't get that appearance of really turning down the face to 'cover' like the ball."

Reed's top-of-backswing position on this shot is a great one for the average player to copy not just in the wedge game but for all irons. "He turns and gets his hands in line with his trail shoulder, and he makes a shoulder to shoulder hand motion without getting his arms trapped behind his body," says Jacobs, co-author of the new instruction book Swing Tips You Should Forget. "By letting working his left shoulder down instead of around on the backswing, he has room to make a simple, free downswing."