Hitting consistent accurate wedges is the key to lower golf scores. Often referred to as scoring clubs, hitting the proper wedge, the right distance, at the correct height is a skill that I have worked on for years. In my mind, I think I understand the mechanics to hitting great wedges, but it is never a bad idea to revisit (or learn for the first time) how to control the height of a golf shot with a specific specific wedge. Being able to manipulate the trajectory by adjusting the angle of attack of an approach shot is an advanced skill, but one every golfer will need to eventually know.
The following process applies to all irons, not just our wedges. Rick Shiels offers a great explanation on how to effortlessly adjust the ball height with a wedge. I use this technique, but did notice some specifics that I think should be highlighted:
The two points I want to discuss is ball location and shaft angle. These two setup positions are very important to executing the right shot at the right time. They are fundamental concepts that many golfers over accentuate, thus mishitting their ball.
Shiels does not move the ball position more than an inch from center with his gap wedge. This position is perfect for my game and I can relate to the positioning. A common error most amateurs make is move the ball too far forward or backward to try and manipulate ball flight. As you can see, only a slight adjust of the ball position is required to make changes to your angle of attack. Ball position is the first aspect of changing the ball height, but it should not be a dramatic change.
Second is shaft position. Many players, including myself in the past, play with too much forward press on with their hands. This forward press affects the shaft angle, loft of the club, and depth of the divot. All of these and more affect the height of the ball fight. Many players press their hands too far forward with the intent of compressing their ball on impact to create more distance, but that is not the intent with scoring clubs. Accuracy is king and to much of a forward press diminishes distance control and accuracy. Two things required to effectively hit their scoring irons.
There are many other points that Shiels brings forward that I will likely discuss in the future. But for now, I suggest you take his advice on how to effectively hit different ball heights with the same scoring iron. I think in the long run, it will help you develop a stronger short game and lower your golf scores.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
2 thoughts on “Refining Your Wedge Play For Lower Golf Scores”
I think the absolute most important thing in Rick’s video is when he said he doesn’t want to swing hard. For me, I know the position in my backswing that provides the most accuracy is the 10 o’clock position. I can make little adjustments to ball position or to the follow through length or both to adjust ball flight and as long as I stay with that 10 o’clock backswing, I can feel confident going for most any landing zones.
As for how far we can/should go hands forward, I’d say that’s more individual. I’m one who can go pretty far, but until the last few years, I’d always played with a super strong grip that promoted an inordinate amount of forward hand press. So to me, that still feels comfortable and easy enough to control though it’s seldom the ball flight I want anymore so if you see me doing it, it’s a specialty shot coming up. Something I don’t see myself managing any other way. That said, you will see it a bit more around my home course if I’m missing fairways or greens. Lots of forward hand press and a steep angle of attack can be a godsend getting club on ball in thick, deep rough or when you need to keep the ball under branches or something. It’s worth some practice time for sure.
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You brought out many great points is such a short comment. I agree that the versatility of controlling ball height is a skill we all need to conquer.