Many golfers, including myself, refer to our wedges as the scoring clubs. It is with these short irons that will determine if we have a 3 foot or 30 foot putt. I spend a great deal of time practicing with my wedges and in the past decided to replace my 5 wood with a 60° wedge. It was a smart move for my game and it has helped me slowly lower my handicap. Understanding that wedges are critical to lower shooting lower golf scores, I am often asked about controlling my distance with each wedge. Well, my method is simple and it follows the guidance of Annika Sörenstam.
Before delving into how I control my wedge distance, here is a quick recap of the uses for the various short irons:
The above infographic is a basic overview of what wedge to use where and is a good starting point. Of course, we can use any wedge in any situation, we just need to be able to control the distances needed with each club. This is where Annika comes in; take a look at this quick video on how she controls her distance:
Annika’s method of controlling her wedge distance is also referred to as the clock method. Depending on how far we want each wedge to travel depends on how far we take back the club in our backswing. This method is very simple and one that I use all the time. There is, however, a small catch to this process. I had to spend time at the range to zero in on the distance of my different wedges at different draw back positions.
For each of my four wedges, I know the distances (within about 3 to 5 yards) of each position. To simplify my process I limited my backswing position to four spots: knees, hips, shoulders and full. I found that this offered me 16 possibilities depending on the ball position in relation to the pin and green. With these possibilities I am able to solve 98% of all approach shots within 120 yards of the green.
If you watched the video, there is one very important common point for each wedge position; it is to ensure we complete the same follow through. This critical step is the common factor for each possible swing that provides the standardization needed to develop the yardage for the above 16 possibilities. Without a consistent follow through the yardage for each shot will still be an unknown and this simple process will fail. Therefore, it is important to use the same follow through when developing your distance chart. This will simplify your numbers and allow you to use any wedge from any distance without guessing or speculation.
Annika’s advice on how to developed known distances with your wedges is simple, repeatable, and proven. It does not get any easier that this when building a strong short game.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!