Tips and Trick for mastering Wedge shot – The right stance
When professional golfers hit a wedge shot they always have a great starting position. A balanced address position is key to really getting the right backswing on a wedge shot. The arms hang down freely underneath the shoulders ready. It’s well known that the right stance makes the swing. Angle your lead foot towards your target which will make it easier to turn during the motion. Leave your heel firmly on the ground, you’ll only be using it to pivot as your weight will remain on the lead foot.
The Billy Horschel Model
Coached by one of the top PGA instructors, Billy Horschel has a simple yet incredibly accurate technique when it comes to the wedge. His stroke seems almost effortless yet totally accurate. The secret is how tight his motion is, there is no inconsistency or instability between his arms-club-body motion. Controlling the basic elements will create mode consistency and better contact in your wedge shot and this will mean a more accurate result. There’s actually a geometric formula that can be applied to Horschel’s shots – he’s that precise. It follows the D-Plane theory written by Theodore Jorgensen in 1999. There are three things that determine this precision: SHOULDERS: The top of the shoulders and the bottom of the shaft must both remain stable throughout. If you can, try and keep your head as still and in line with your shoulders as possible. A great tip for keeping your head in line with the rest of your body and not rotating to look over your shoulder is to put a straw in your mouth. Try and keep the straw in the center of your vision as you swing and follow through. The shoulders need to stay as stable as possible to create the ideal angle for the ball. Tilt the forward shoulder lower as this helps the ball to stay lower. In fact, your forward shoulder tilt is an easy way to gauge how high your shot will go – higher for high/ lower for low. You don’t want a lot of vertical motion in the upper body, similarly, you don’t want too much horizontal motion in the lower body. SHAFT: The hostel needs to remain close to the lower spine or shaft plane. As the club strikes the golf ball it travels left but still remains close to its original angle. Look at some of Horschel’s videos to see this motion in action. You’ll actually see the shaft become stressed as he goes from the address to the impact. The shaft plane angle needs to be small from backswing all the way through to impact. RIGHT ARM: The right arm needs to maintain the same angle through the address until post impact. There is almost no angle between the right arm and the shaft. The arm swing needs to be in sync with the motion of the body for stability. A great way of using Billy Horschel as a model is to examine his post-impact stance and try and copy it. Look at photos or video of his alignments and try to hold the angles and rotations as you see them until you can produce a similar result. Doing this as a practice drill will help you include controlling the direction rather than actually aiming.
Open your stance – we’ve mentioned you’re going to shoot a little to the left but by aiming your body and feet the same way you’re going to have those D-Plane physics come in. Opening the lead foot helps with the direction of the shot. Wedges are shorter so being more upright allows us to move closer to the ball and have a steeper swing plane. The steeper the attack the further you’re likely to go to the right. Aligning the stance to the left of the target line means you’ll get a better spin axis so the ball will go faster and you can better control the distance. Your thigh can also make a huge difference in how open your stance is and, therefore, how high your trajectory. If you’re aiming for a higher trajectory give it a lot of thigh. The motion gives a faster follow through which will increase the spin and trajectory of the ball. If you’re aiming for a lower trajectory try not to put a lot of the thigh into the shot, keep it close to your body. Keep the trailing knee in a flexed position for better contact. The Open Stance is open to some debate. Many golfers stand by the Diagonal Stance Concept whereby if the ball is stable you still don’t need an open toe line. There are people who will argue for both but the majority stand by the open stance for improving a wedge. According to Hogan’s book (The Five Lessons) ball position for a wedge shot should be relative to the left heel. The stance should be wide with the right foot behind the target line and parallel. This creates a very closed stance and most golfers will tell you that it’s the opposite of what you need for a wedge. In fact, if you watch his own shots even Hogan didn’t have his feet in the position he encourages.
The position of the feet also means the position of the ball has to be adjusted accordingly. The ball needs to move forwards or back depending on that left heel. In your head, draw a line perpendicular to your toes and you’ll be able to see that your ball position is related to how open your stance gets. The ball should be in the middle of your stance when taking a wedge shot. Some players will place the ball closer to the feet in an effort to encourage a downward motion. In theory, this gets your eyes over the ball and will improve the accuracy of your impact. Try both positions out on the practice range and see which works better for you so you’ll be able to put it into practice during a round. When you’re ready to swing remember that you’ll also need a good plane so that your shot is lined up properly. If you’re still struggling to get the direction right go back to using the extra club on the ground only, this time, place it parallel to your feet. By bringing your backswing up to about waist height, you’ll be in the right position to make either low or high trajectory shots – the difference will only be in adjusting the club face. A closed face show will lower the trajectory while an open one with a straight up toe would create a higher shot.
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