Hello my golfing friends,
I truly hope you are enjoying this years golf season?
Many of us are more than halfway thru our golfing season and I’m hoping that this has been a fruitful year for you so far? Touring pros are already looking towards next season as this years final major gets underway.
So many of my regular students are having a great year as the winter and early year work has really been paying off. However, as a teacher who specialises in the scoring zone, I’m very much aware of the challenges both recreation and competitive golfers go thru each season! 65%+ of our shots occur inside 100 yards! And, as every swing up to 100 yards is building the foundations of a swing over 100 yards, this is the best area to work on, both off-season and during the competitive season!
I’m more than happy to let you into a big secret!
There are even shortcuts to improving your scores!
Firstly, how many of you have had your wedges properly fitted for you? This one of the simplest ways to improve your scores! Now I’ll never advocate that buying a game, as the way to see long-term improvement! However, I’ve you’ve got badly worn wedges, or wedges that hinder your ability to hit certain key shots around the greens then you can simply buy a better score!
Change your wedges for new ones with fresh, sharp grooves and correctly fitted lofts and lies and you will be amazed at how easy some shots are to play?
You don’t even have to change the rest of your clubs. So if you’d like to see a significant improvement to your scores then read below and apply the keys to your game for lower scores in the months to come. The information included is a collective of nearly 40 years playing golf.
As a youngster, I could hit the ball out of my shadow, but I quickly learned to compete by improving my short-game! And as money was scarce too, new wedges were a lot cheaper than a new driver etc. I would say that from an early age, I’ve always played with the best wedges I could afford, even if they didn’t match my regular irons!
That’s still the case today, and I change them as soon as they have worn out!
Your Wedges:
Your wedges are a key component of your ability to play great shots around the green. I’m not concerned which brand of wedge you use and I’m not concerned if they don’t match each other or the set of irons in your bag. But too many golfers I coach or play with have poor wedges in their bag. Many wedges that are included in sets today are not fit for purpose, especially in game improvement and junior sets! Broad-soled clubs that do not sit square or open when sitting on the ground have little use around the greens. If you rest your clubs on the ground and the shaft leans a long way ahead of the club head when it is square to the target or aims well left if you move the handle/shaft inline with the club head. You will need to change your wedges!
I don’t know of any shot around the green whereby the club needs to sit closed to the target. I have shared this knowledge with leading manufacturers in recent years and I can say that their subsequent sets have implemented wedges that now sit correctly.
The lofts of your wedges also need to help you with the distances you require on your full swings. All my clubs are lofted in order that I can hit a full shot a specific distance, my wedges are no different, I personally carry three separate wedges from my main set, plus the wedge from my set, making four wedges, this is because of the distance gaps I like to work with.
I like to hit my most lofted 60 deg (adjusted to 59 deg) wedge 90-95 yards, my 54 (53) gap wedge 105-110 yds, my 48 (49) deg mid wedge 120-125 yds, and my 46 deg set wedge 130-135 yds.
I will mostly play to the lower distances as this is a speed I feel i have maximum control of the ball. I going to suggest you experiment using different wedges, maybe even trying the wedges your friends may be using. Im sure they will let you hit a few balls with them to compare the difference in flight, spin, feel etc.
Even some retailers have demo wedges these days to trail before you buy!
The sole of the club is going to interact with the ground/sand at some point. And the two main factors that are largely misunderstood about wedges are in the lie angle and bounce of your wedges. I believe 90% of golfers would improve their short game if they played with wedges that were around 2 degrees flatter than the full set.
This allows you to position your hands lower for a flatter, more rotational swing with the shorter clubs. I personally feel that clubs today are too upright and wedges that are too upright will cause the heel to dig in or limit the body rotation causing the ball to come out left, lower and faster. When you are looking at the shortest shots, you need clubs that allow you to apply the natural movement and easily acquired skill for success! My wedges are set 3 degrees flatter than standard, 61 degrees, when I first made the change many years ago now, I couldn’t believe just how must easier it was to play some of the shots I’d been trying to learn!
The bounce of the club is determined by the angle and depth of the sole of the club when the club sits on the ground and the shaft is perpendicular. The back edge of the club should be sitting lower to the ground then the front edge. The amount of sole will determine how much the club will bounce or glide under the ball at impact. Too much bounce and the club will not get under the ball and too little and it will dig right in. I personally like my most lofted club to have a narrow sole but with 12 degrees of bounce, I can then apply a little grind to the heel which allows me to play from tight/firm lies by lowering my hands slightly more and playing a little more towards the heel of the club.
Remember, the game of golf is to be played in the fewest strokes possible and the fastest way to improve your scores is to get the ball closer to the hole, in fewer strokes!
For more information and short-game lessons contact me by the usual means and I’m more than happy to help you.