Wayne Welch from Sault Ste Marie, Mi. emailed me this week wanting to know, "What's the best way to start hitting my wedges more solid?"
Thanks for the question Wayne.
Nothing feels worse than hitting a great drive down the middle of the fairway then leaving yourself with a short pitch to the green that you either hit the shot thin or fat, leaving yet another short pitch shot to the green. When this happens, golfers are often left feeling defeated with the thought that it was the shot that got away and often end up trying to make it up during their round.
Well Wayne, you're not alone when it comes to this shot, here is what I have my students do to help hit these all important, shot saving, pitch shots.
First thing is make sure your back and forward swing are the same distance during the swing. A good thought is to make them a mirror image of each other. If the club swings further on the back swing than the forward swing you will tend to decelerate into the ball; making inconsistent contact which is never a good thing.
Here is a quick fix:
Next time you practice pitch shots grab your three wood head cover and place it on the ground one foot behind the ball, after you have done this take some swings making sure you miss the head cover on the way back and on the way down. This will help you hit down on the ball making cleaner contact which makes it much easier to control your pitch shots. Note: after you hit the ball make sure you continue your follow through until it has mirrored your back swing.
Try this tip the next time you practice and you will become a better wedge player.
Ed Pobur from Highland, MI emailed me this question: "When I am faced with a shot over a bunker with a pin that is placed close to the bunker and my ball is on a hard pan; what the best way to get the ball on the green and hopefully near the hole?"
This is a shot that we all need in our arsenal but do not often practice. A good round can be interrupted quickly when facing a shot like this.
Let me first explain that a hard pan is hard ground with very little grass which makes it difficult to slide a club under the ball. Most golfers, when faced with this shot, will reach into their bag and pull out the lob wedge; take a deep breath and hope they don?t skull the ball over the green. Inevitably, they will do exactly what they feared would happen, skull the ball over the green and make a big number on the hole and leaving them discouraged and defeated.
Next time you are faced with this shot do not reach for that lob wedge. Instead, grab your seven iron. Now that you have the correct club here is how to play this shot while saving your score on the hole. You want to start by looking at the grass between the bunker and the pin (the target).
Similar to a ?bump and run? shot, you want to fly the ball to the target and let the ground do the rest. Now you are ready to hit the shot. Make sure you lean a little towards the target with the ball position in the middle of your stance. As you?re hitting the shot make sure your hands are in front of the ball when you make contact. Try to fly the ball in the air to a spot between the bunker and the pin (your target) NOT the green. When you do this, here is what will happen. The ball will hit the target then pop in the air and land softly on the green. Do not be scared of hitting it too hard as the grass bank will deaden the ball upon impact allowing it to come out softly. Trust me if you have this shot in the bag you will save valuable strokes during a round of golf.
Thanks for the great question Ed and have a successful golf season.
Mitch Rivet from Bloomfield Hills wants to know, ?How can I swing smoother and hit the ball farther? This begs the question, ?How do tour players make it look so easy and hit the ball so far??
In a nutshell, low handicappers along with tour players save the speed of their swing until impact. In other words, as they swing the power is being stored and is released at that impact. Most high handicappers swing too hard at the wrong times. They pull the club away from the ball too fast, do not take a full turn and yank the club down from the top of their swing. All of these are examples of the times when you want to swing the smoothest.
Next time you?re hitting balls take some nice smooth swings building rhythm. You will notice it helps you make a full turn and gives you plenty of time to make a smoother transition in your down swing. One of the things that helped me (while touring) get back to hitting the ball well, was to make sure my grip pressure was not too tight. A tight grip equals a fast swing. I?d also focus on keeping my feet quiet throughout my swing. Too much movement in your feet equals a swing that is off balance, which will mean that you are swinging too hard at the wrong times. Try these tips and I promise you will hit the ball better and more solid more often