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Short Game

How To Hit Precise Wedge shots

September 21, 2016

Photo by Andrew Redington /Getty Images

When the pros hit wedge shots, like European Tour player Thomas Pieters is doing here, they're controlling the distance and height very precisely. There's no guessing and hoping it gets close. You can have that kind of control, too, if you start using your body the right way.

Pieters isn't trying to smash the ball as hard as he can, but he's still making a definite body turn through. If you skip this part and use mostly arms, you won't make consistent contact—and you won't have good distance control.

To check your body turn, imagine the ball has a camera on it and that the camera is looking up at you. If you played back the video after the shot, you should see the left side of your chest moving around to the left, up and away from the ball. You should see your belt buckle coming through, followed by your hands and then the clubhead.

The result? Your arms will straighten and line up with your hands and the shaft after impact (above). If you try to lead your hands into impact too much, the clubhead will still be trailing the hands at this point. You want the shaft to be pointing at your belt buckle. You can even set up the camera on your phone at the same angle this photo was taken. Check your post-impact position against Pieters' here. He's a perfect model.

Brian Manzella, a Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher, is based at English Turn Golf & Country Club in New Orleans.