The 40- or 50-yard wedge is one of the most feared shots in golf for the average player. But it doesn't have to be. One easy adjustment will help you hit it solid every time.
Take your address with the ball a little forward of center in your stance and your weight evenly distributed between your feet. Now, before you start the club back, slide your hips toward the target. Why? A short wedge shot doesn't require a full swing, so you don't have time to make a big weight shift to your front side like you do on a longer shot. This hip slide helps compensate for that by moving your weight predominantly onto the front foot before you swing. It'll help you hit the ball first, then take a divot. That ball-then-divot progression is your goal, especially on wedge shots.
Most golfers practice virtually nothing but full swings. To hit half-wedges, you have to shorten the swing but still hit the ball firmly. That requires feel, and feel comes from practice. Work on half-wedge shots with this thought: Keep the club accelerating.
Excerpted from the DVD "Lessons of a Lifetime II," by Tom Watson.
*Tom Watson, a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, is on Twitter @TomWatsonPGA