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Answer How do you play wedge shots of different distances

Botching a pitch shot from inside 100 yards ranks among golfs most frustrating moments. Maybe you chunk it, or skull it over the green. Perhaps you make solid contact, but hit the ball too hard or come up short.

Whatever the case, youre left feeling like you wasted a stroke – and wondering why these seemingly straightforward shots can be so difficult.

The simple answer: because you rarely get to make a full swing from this distance. Hitting a wedge in the 40- to 100-yard range usually requires swinging at less than 100% power, a task with which most amateurs struggle mightily. Few of us make much effort at practicing these shots, choosing to use our limited time on the full swing and, maybe, putting and chipping.

Of course, practice wont do you much good if you dont understand the technique involved. Fortunately, the key to controlling your wedge-shot distance is pretty basic.

In a nutshell: Longer shots require a longer swing, and vice versa, but the power of your swing should be the same at every distance.

Typically, the golfer faced with a wedge shot shorter than his maximum yardage—say, a 60-yard shot with his 90-yard club—will make a full-length backswing and decelerate coming down. No good. He often hits it fat, sometimes catches it thin, and rarely strikes it flush.

The single most important key on these shots is to accelerate through the ball. The trick is to swing aggressively without blasting every wedge over the green. How? By shortening your swing and altering your ball flight to match the required distance.

Its easier than it sounds. By adjusting these three factors at address, you barely have to think about the swings length:

Stance width: The shorter the shot, the narrower your stance. For a very short shot with a sand wedge – 40 yards, for instance – stand with your heels no more than 10” apart. Take a slightly wider stance for a 50-yard shot, and so on.

Grip position: The farther you grip down (choke up), the “shorter” the club becomes. This automatically reduces the length of your swing without changing your tempo.

Clubface loft: The more open the clubface (aimed right of the target for a right-handed golfer), the higher and shorter the ball will fly. Any time youre struggling with distance control, open the clubface a little more.

It takes practice and experimentation to develop a feel for how much each factor influences your wedge yardage. But put in a little work and it will pay off in fewer wasted shots – and a lot less frustration.

If you want to play really good golf for a really long time – beyond the point where age robs you of driving distance – aim to become a wedge wizard. These tips will get you started:

How Do You Play a Three-Quarter Wedge Shot?

How to Hit a High Wedge Shot

How to Hit a Low Wedge Shot

How to Hit a Lob Wedge from a Tight Lie

How Many Wedges Should You Carry in Your Bag?

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Tension is a feel killer, so putting the club in a death grip is the last thing you want to do. Keep those hands light, with a grip pressure of 4 – 5 on a scale of 10, when playing a bite-size wedge.

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This is where most golfers go wrong. They make a long swing, then try to baby the ball – and end up sticking the club in the ground, or pulling up and out and catching it thin. Think “shorter swing, same effort,” and youll hit the ball solidly without crushing it over the green.

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Your set should include a pitching and sand wedge, at the least, with gap and lob wedges highly recommended. With a full arsenal, youll face fewer “in between” shots that require careful swing calibration.