By Josh Zander
Trap it! No, that doesn’t mean put it in the trap. It means that
great wedge players trap the ball between the clubface and the ground. The
compression they create leads to wonderful distance control.
The biggest mistake I see amateurs make is to make full swings
with their wedges and hit sky balls. Their distance control is too variable.
The same swing with a 56 degree wedge
might produce anywhere from a 60 to 100 yard shot. This is not
acceptable. After all, you are relying on your wedge to put you in range to
make a putt and make a birdie or save par.
The reason for this inconsistent distance is because of the loft
on the wedge. The increased loft leads to the ball rolling up the clubface at
impact. This is much like what Phil Mickelson wants when he takes a full swing
with a lob wedge and hits the ball 10 feet. Well, we don’t want this when we
are trying to hit an 75 yard wedge shot. Tour players de-loft the clubface 20
degrees when they hit their wedges into greens from 75 to 125 yards. That means
that they are turning their 56 degree club into a 36 degree club which makes
the loft more like a 7 iron. The ball comes off with a penetrating flight and
stops quickly due to backspin.
Make sure your technique is fundamentally sound with your wedges.
First, make sure you keep your weight more on your front foot when you hit. As
a right-handed golfer, I think about turning around my left leg. This
guarantees that I will hit the golf ball before I hit the ground. This compression
leads to very solid contact. Secondly, make a shallow 3/4 type swing into the
ball. This shallower angle helps the ball rebound off the face as opposed to
crawling up the face. Lastly, come into impact with a forward leaning shaft
which de-lofts the clubface. This results in fantastic distance control. Never
make full, all out, swings with your wedges. There is no need to. After all, if
you need more distance, there is always a longer club you can use.