PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club


How to control distance for a better short game

February 07, 2020

Nathaniel Welch

The secret to great wedge play is being able to produce any distance on command and that comes from knowing how to control speed at impact. There are two leading methods: Vary the length of the backswing and accelerate through, or make whatever backswing you want and just feel out the right speed at impact.

Think of a car that has to hit a checkpoint at 50 miles an hour—it can be speeding up or slowing down. If accelerating makes more sense to you, set the length of your backswing so that normal acceleration gives you the distance you want. If you’re more of a feel player, you can swing back to any length and focus on putting in the right speed—even if that means decelerating into the ball. There are terrific wedge players on both sides. Experiment to see which feels better to you.