How To Hit Great Wedge Shots And Control Distance For More Consistent Scoring

Control Your Back Swing Length

From shorter distances such as 50 to 80 yards many amateurs make back swings which are too long for the intended distance and will hit the ball too far, so they are forced to decelerate on the way down to impact. This will very often result in thinned shots or hitting the ground before the ball as rhythm, timing and proper weight shift is destroyed.

You need to control the length so that when you reach the end of your back swing it is “short” enough to allow you to accelerate smoothly and continuously down into the ball. Experiment making accelerating swings from different “shorter than normal” back swing positions.

Remember: A shorter back swing allows you to accelerate nicely down into the ball, too long in the backswing results in deceleration, stabbing, loss of rhythm, timing and weight shift.

Practice taking the club back to where your left arm (for RH golfers) is parallel to the ground or pointing at 3 o’clock if 12 is your head and 6 is your feet. Another way, as described by Butch Harmon, is to keep your hands level with your chest in the back swing.

Turn Into The Shot

To make solid contact it is vitally important to shift and turn to your left side and keep your body turning through the shot. Swinging down with your arms with little or no body turn is the kiss of death. A nice little trigger is to shift slightly toward the target with you left hip, (bump or slide it about 2 inches toward the target then turn) allow your right knee to “Kick” in and KEEP TURNING, This will help to get you going and transfer weight into the left side. Opposite for you Phil Mickelson look-alike lefties.

Keep Your Speed Going

Attempting to steer or control the club head through impact is not going to give you good results. Because you have kept your back swing “shorter” you can – AND MUST – accelerate consistently and smoothly through the ball. Feel as if everything is moving together, hips turning, shoulders following and arms and hands being pulled down into the shot by the accelerating turn. Have some fun practicing and see how well you can change and control distances just but increasing the speed of your turn.

Ball Position

I don’t like to see a moving ball position generally and I believe you should play all shots/clubs from the same place. Personally I recommend 3 inches inside the front foot although Jack Nicklaus played everything off the heel of his front foot. Whether you decide to copy Jack or go 1, 2 or 3 inches inside the front heel is OK with me as long as it is consistent. Decide on your ball position and then do not change.

The only time ball position can vary is with specialist shots but for all standard swings it should be consistent. For example you may want to move the ball back in your stance if you need to hit a low punch shot out from the woods. Experiment – practice – have fun.

Good technique + Good Mental Game = Your Best Golf Consistently. Check out BUTCH HARMONS new DVD “ABOUT GOLF” with Titleist on our website and we have negotiated a FREE DISCOUNT CODE for our visitors. The key to playing your best and getting the most enjoyment out of your game is combining good technique with the ability to control your mind and get it working for you in a positive manner both emotionally and physically.

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