Start To Get Closer With Your Golf Wedges 1

You have a shot on the golf course just off the green and you are unsure about which club to choose, so you choose your most lofted wedge and attempt to hit the miracle shot on to the green, knowing full well this may only pay off a couple of times out of 10.

You make the wrong club choice and this costs you dearly. You end up missing the green or messing up your shot, resulting in a larger score than you desired. Sound familiar? Then knowing which wedge and shot choice to pick is crucial to making sure you accurately improve your golf game and overall score.

Fault - Choosing the incorrect club or type of shot for the golf shot in hand is problematic. Resorting to the most glamorous club choice, instead of the most practical and effective club for the job in hand is not the best option. Another problem is not being able to accurately figure out the best plan of attack for the shot and therefore you choose the incorrect club and shot type.

Cure - The important aspects to take into consideration are the golf course elements that we have to contend with when presented with any shot around the green. What does the golf ball need to get over? A bunker, rough, hazard, trees or any other elements? Where is the pin in relation to the positioning on the green? Is it at the front so we have to stop the ball quickly or is it at the back where we can afford to roll the ball to the flag? Is the green receptive enough to stop the golf ball quickly?

Key tip - Make the golf course force you into taking a high risk shot on rather than playing the sensible and simple method to get the golf ball close to the hole.

Ideally, we want to play the shot with the least amount of loft on the club so that we can use less power on the golf swing to be more accurate when hitting shots into the flag. The less lofted golf clubs can be used to keep the ball lower rather than allowing the golf ball to be affected by outside elements such as the wind or other conditions.

Also, the least amount of power we have to use when hitting a short golf shot, the less that can actually go wrong if we do not hit the golf ball correctly. If you happen to hit the golf ball incorrectly with a great deal of power and club head speed, the likeness of the shot becoming more destructive is very possible. This is why, if possible, playing the lower lofted shot with less power can be much more beneficial.

If you happen to contact the golf ball incorrectly when applying a small amount of power, the golf shot will not be as destructive and can still end up finishing close to the intended target.

The wedge game seems to be somewhat overlooked by the average golfer.

How to Get Closer to Hole with Your Wedges

Sure, you probably know it is important to hit your wedges close to the hole as often as possible, but do you actually work on this part of your game regularly? Maybe, maybe not. If you don't, you are missing out on a big opportunity to lower your scores. Wedges are often referred to as 'scoring clubs' for a reason. Since you are playing from short range when hitting a wedge shot, you should do your best to take advantage of the opportunity at hand. There are plenty of long, difficult shots to deal with during a round of golf – don't miss out on your chances when get to swing a wedge within close range of the green.

In this article, we are going to talk about the skill of placing the ball closer to the hole with your wedges. There are a number of things to cover in this conversation, including distance control, trajectory control, strategy, and more. Some golfers make the mistake of taking these shots for granted, since they are relatively easy, but that is a mistake. Rather than just walking up to the ball and swinging away, you should focus intently and give yourself a great chance to hit an excellent shot. We hope the advice provided below will point you in the right direction on this key part of the game.

Before we get into the discussion, we want to quickly mention that it is important to carry a logical spread of wedges in your golf bag. You don't want to have two wedges that hit the ball essentially the same distance, and you also don't want to have a big distance gap between any two of your wedges. The idea is to be able to cover as many different distances as possible, so the spacing between your clubs should make sense. Many golfers opt for three wedges, which usually means a pitching wedge, gap wedge, and sand/lob wedge. However, some players go with four wedges, having separate clubs play the role of sand and lob wedge. You'll need to work through your own personal bag setup to decide how you would like to proceed.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Distance Control is the Starting Point

Distance Control is the Starting Point

You aren't going to hit your wedge shots close to the hole if you don't control your distances properly. That's just how it works in golf. On longer shots, such as when you are hitting a driver off the tee, you are usually more concerned with the line than anything else. As long as you hit the target line, you will typically be happy with the result. As you get closer and closer to the hole, however, that story changes. With a wedge in your hands, it is usually pretty easy to hit the target line. So, as a result, the focus shifts to the need to control your distance properly. Only the players who can dial up the right distance over and over again will be able to hit close wedge shots with any kind of frequency.

So, how do you dial up the right distance when swinging a wedge? Let's take a look at a few important tips.

  • Start by choosing the right wedge. This might seem like an obvious point, but it's really the only place to start. When you are getting ready to hit a wedge shot, you need to make sure you pick the right wedge for the job at hand. The key here is to always make sure you have enough club in hand during the swing. If you are trying to stretch the limits of how far you can hit a particular wedge, you are just asking for trouble. Swinging too aggressively with your wedges is going to result in an elevated spin rate and a trajectory which likely will fly too high in the air. For instance, if you normally hit your sand wedge 100 yards, you shouldn't try to use it on a 110-yard shot. In nearly every case, you'll be better off making a controlled swing with the longer club when you are stuck with a yardage that falls between two wedges.
  • Pick a landing distance. The total distance of the shot is not always going to be the distance you want to carry the ball. It is important to make a distinction between these two points. When you select a landing distance, you are going to have to take a number of factors into consideration. Those factors include the length of the shot, the expected height of the shot, the condition of the greens, and more. A shot played into a firm green, for example, will need more room to come to a stop than a shot played into a wet, soft putting surface. As you gain experience with your wedges you should get better and better at picking an appropriate landing distance based on the information at hand. Then, once you have that distance in mind, it all comes down to executing the swing correctly.
  • Practice, practice, practice. You simply can't expect to hit the ball the right distance with your wedges if you don't work on this skill. It is just like anything else in golf – you aren't going to get better without regular work. Unfortunately, the driving range is not the best place to do this work, since driving range golf balls don't fly an accurate distance when compared to the balls you will be using on the course. With any luck, you'll be able to find a golf facility near you with a large short game practice area that will permit you to work on your wedge distance control. You might not be able to get all the way back to hit a full pitching wedge, but even a practice area of 60 – 80 yards can be quite helpful. If you can't find such a facility, you will be left to simply learn as you go on the course. To speed up this learning process, consider taking notes after each one of your wedges shots – at least for a while. By recording how far you attempted to hit the ball, along with how far you actually did hit the ball, you can spot patterns and make adjustments. In time, you will gradually dial in the distance that you hit each of your wedges, and this part of your game will steadily improve.

Distance control is not just vital in the wedge game, but throughout the rest of your bag as well. If you struggle to hit the ball the right distance, you are always going to struggle to post low scores. Make improving in this area a top priority and you will quickly see just how beneficial it can be to your game as a whole.

Thinking About Trajectory

Thinking About Trajectory

The trajectory you choose to use on your wedge shots is extremely important. Commonly, amateur golfers tend to opt for high wedge shots when low wedge shots are actually easier to control. As a general rule of thumb, you want to keep the ball down lower to the ground whenever possible. Sure, there are some occasions where a high wedge shot is going to be the way to go, but those should be seen as the exception rather than the rule. Unless you have a specific reason for needing to hit the ball high, opt for a lower flight to control both the distance of the shot and the amount of spin you place on the ball.

Of course, in order to opt for a low shot, you need to know how to actually hit one in the first place. With that in mind, we have put together a quick list of tips for that very shot. If you would like to learn how to hit a low wedge shot, please read on and consider these points as you practice.

  • Choke down, move it back. This is technically two tips in one, but these go together so often that we decided to include them in the same point. At address, choke down on the grip of the club slightly in order to reduce the overall speed of your swing. Then, move the ball a bit back in your stance to bring down the trajectory. When these adjustments are made together, you will be most of the way toward producing a low, consistent ball flight that you can repeat over and over again. As you might expect, moving the ball farther back in your stance is going to result in an even lower ball flight, so experiment with different ball positions and see what kind of trajectories you can produce. Once you get comfortable with setting up for your wedge shots in this manner, it's likely that this will become one of your go-to shots on the course.
  • Eliminate lateral movement. To strike this kind of shot cleanly – and a clean strike is essential for success – you want to take as much lateral movement out of your swing as possible. Stand in a balanced position over the ball at address and do your best to keep your center of gravity in one place. If you allow yourself to move much laterally as you swing, it's going to be hard to make clean contact with a downward strike. Just think of this swing as a very simple action – a turn to the right for the backswing, and a turn to the left for the downswing. As long as you keep it simple you should be on track for nice results.
  • Quiet hands. This is a tip that you may not hear as often when it comes to knockdown shots, but it is important nonetheless. As you swing down toward impact, try to keep your hands and wrists mostly quiet as the core of your body turns through the shot. Hand action is going to result in a higher spin rate, and that is precisely what you are trying to avoid here. Specifically, focus on the position of the left wrist at the moment of impact. If the wrist is firm and in a mostly flat position, you have done your job well and the shot should come out low with only a moderate amount of spin.

When at the driving range, make sure you practice low wedge shots as part of your standard routine. This is a shot which is called for during many rounds, and often several times within a round. It is important to remember that even though you may get quite comfortable with this shot on the range, it is still going to take some time before it performs properly for you on the course. That is just how golf works, as frustrating as it may be. Be patient with yourself, accept a few bad results along the way, and stick with it until it starts to pay off.

Final Thoughts: We wanted to leave you with just a few more tips on how you can place the ball closer to the hole with your wedge shots during upcoming rounds.

  • Check your lie. Okay – so this is a habit that you should have on all of your shots. Before you plan the type of shot you are going to play, be sure to take a close look at the lie to see what will be possible. You can do just about anything from a clean lie, but your options are limited when the ball is sitting down in the rough or maybe in a divot. Don't ever give into the temptation to 'fight' the lie, as that is a battle you aren't going to win. The best golfers know that the wise move is to only attempt shots that the lie will allow.
  • Don't put too much pressure on yourself. This is a common problem, especially when you are playing a tough golf course where scoring opportunities are hard to come by. When you see that you have a wedge shot from a clean lie and a comfortable distance, you may actually start to get nervous. Expecting too much from this kind of shot is going to take away from your performance. Treat it like any other shot – make a plan, go through a pre-shot routine, and make a great swing.
  • Keep your wedges clean. Your wedges aren't going to perform properly if the grooves are dirty when you hit your shots. Do your best to keep your wedges clean throughout each round and give them a quick wash after your rounds to make sure they are ready to go for the next time out. It's a pain to have to clean your grooves as you are getting ready to hit a shot, so stay ahead of that part of the game by always maintaining your clubs in good condition.

It's a great feeling to knock a wedge shot up within close range of the hole. Not only will you be proud of yourself for the shot you have just hit, but you'll know that you have a good chance to make the putt and finish the hole in style. We hope the information provided in this article will help you hit plenty of quality wedge shots in your upcoming rounds. Good luck!