Lesson teeAugust 12, 2013

Jason Dufner: Steal My Feel

Simplify the half-wedge

'13 STATS: Approaches from 50 to 75 yds: 10 ft, 4 inches (13th on tour) Putts from 10 to 15 feet: 35.4 percent (18th) Scrambling from outside 30 yards: 36.8 percent (19th) Scoring average: 70.4 (31st)

Any time you're inside your full-swing yardage with a wedge, you probably tend to add a lot of wrist action to try to control the distance and trajectory. My advice? Don't. When you make a big wrist hinge on the backswing, you have to undo it perfectly on the downswing. This shot already gives you fits, so why add another variable?

When I'm hitting a half-wedge shot—say, from 50 to 70 yards—my wrists stay quiet. It's more of a big-muscle shot. I rotate my upper torso away from the target, then rotate it back toward the target. My lower body stays quiet, too.

The feel I want is that the ball is staying on the clubface longer at impact. Almost like it's sticking to the face—it's a strange concept, I know. To do it, I keep my swing wide and on a shallow path, brushing the ground rather than digging, so there's not much of a divot (see photo). A shallow swing lets the club's true loft create the trajectory and spin. I can vary these things by moving the ball up or back in my stance. But in general, feeling like the ball stays on the face longer helps me control it.

Jason Dufner is eighth in the World Golf Ranking.