Tips and Trick for mastering Wedge shot – Learning the terrain
When it comes to putting all of this information to good use you’ll need to spend a lot of time on a short game course or at the practice range. Many golfers spend so long practicing their full swing shots that they neglect the half and three-quarter ones that require more control (like the wedge). This is often why a player who only drives 200-250 yards will still beat a player driving 300 and can play on almost any course. The wedge shot is your “ace in the hole” as it were. Even if you’ve got every aspect of your shot down you’ll still need to know the course when playing. If you can, get a yardage book and take notes before you put any of the tricks to use, even on a practice range or short green these will still apply.
The breeze effect can really do a number on your shot even if everything is perfect. No matter how hard you work you’ll never be a match for mother nature which is why it’s so important to know the course well. Before starting your round find out which direction the wind is blowing from if your course doesn’t have a windsock your phone might be able to help you. Alternatively, you can also try doing the finger lick method or looking at the treetops. Draw arrows on your map that show the direction of the wind. Ideally, you should be doing this for each hole. Beware that you might encounter swirling breezes or changes of direction lower to the ground if you’re relying on the treetops.
A great trick for dealing with a breezy course no matter what type of shot you’re working with is to swing against the breeze. However, when dealing with a breeze on a wedge shot you’re going to be a lot more vulnerable to the wind, especially crosswind because the trajectory needs to be precise to be successful. When hitting wedge shots in windy conditions, you’ll still want to minimize the height of the shot but also slow the spin of the ball. If you can play into the wind a pitching wedge and an easy swing will produce a lower trajectory without a lot of backspin. If you’re dealing with a crosswind you have to remember that the wind direction is going to influence the ball’s trajectory through its entire flight. As long as you remember that even on the last bounce and roll the ball is still going to be influenced by the wind and compromise accordingly you should still come out with a well-played shot. In a downwind situation keeping the ball further back in your stance will help to produce a more penetrating wedge shot that is lower in trajectory.
Bunker shots can often be an entire world of their own. If you’re in a greenside bunker then you’re going to actually want a lob wedge rather than a sand wedge. The reason for this is that you want less roll from the ball and more height to get out of the bunker, if you’ve got a little more room then you have the option to work with a lower lofted club to get a longer flight. You may even need to consider a gap wedge if you have one.
When playing a wedge from a bunker, most of the same rules apply as to one from the fairway. You’ll still want to lead off the left foot, weight balanced off the left foot, and making sure you have a good base by digging your heels in. You’ll also still need an open stance and to pay attention to your club face. The only difference when in a bunker trap with the wedge shot is that you’ll want to have a longer follow-through so that you don’t chunk the ball. This is the one wedge shot where you’re allowed a bigger swing because you still won’t go as far – the steep swing and long follow-through guarantee height but not distance. You’ll also want to use a lob wedge to get more power behind your shot, something that has been proven to get the ball closer to the hole.
At some point, you’ve probably landed in a bunker with a plugged ball. There are only 2 ways of getting out of this and it’s one of the hardest shots in golf.
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