Approach Shots

Tour Secrets To Hitting Less-Than-Full Wedge Shots

March 30, 2016

Cashing in on the PGA Tour is a pretty simple formula: Hit crisp, flighted wedge shots that dance around the pin. Here's Emiliano Grillo doing that with a controlled body motion (below). Jealous? You don't have to be. Use the three keys I've given him, and you can turn your wedges into scoring weapons.


First, take control of your distances by making a shorter backswing. As a base shot, your arms shouldn't go past parallel to the ground in the backswing. Next, get your arms and body in sync by starting down with a lateral shift and without unwinding your backswing turn. (See my drill for that below.) Last, push against the ground and rotate so that your right shoulder, hip and knee "cover" the ball through impact. You'll get the shallow strike and forward shaft lean that make tour-quality drop-and-stop shots. —With Matthew Rudy


To feel the move into impact, set an alignment stick three inches in front of your lead hip and practice bumping into it. Swing back halfway, then shift forward without fully unwinding (above). As you bump the stick, unwind your hips and hit the ball, feeling your right shoulder, hip and knee line up vertically. If you don't touch the stick, you're hanging back. If you smash into it, you've shifted too much.

James Sieckmann, a Golf Digest 50 Best Teacher, works with 11 tour players, including Grillo, Smylie Kaufman and Charley Hoffman.