May 15, 2013

Stuff It: Master Tricky Half-Wedge Shots

Match your method to the lie to hit short wedge shots

When the ball is sitting cleanly in the fairway, a 50-yard wedge shot is as simple as making a small, quarter-turn backswing and then matching that turn on the follow-through so that the motion feels symmetrical. I don't consciously hinge my wrists; for me, the feeling is more turn back, turn through. I do think about striking the ball with the dead-center of the clubface. After impact, you should feel the club move out toward the target or just to the left. And instead of letting the toe rotate up, hold the clubface open so it points to the sky. This gives the shot plenty of height and keeps it on line.

wedge shot

When the ball is sitting down in the rough, don't worry about making clean contact. Instead, treat it like you're hitting a bunker shot: Strike the turf first, and slide the wedge under the ball, so the grass and dirt act like sand to propel the ball out. Same as a bunker shot, stand open and swing from out to in across the ball. It's like the pitch from a clean lie, except you make a full wrist hinge going back and then rehinge the club in the follow-through. Why? You need the extra speed created by wrist hinge, because you're chunking the shot on purpose. With some practice, this can become a reliable shot.