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Those Pesky Half Wedges
By Terry Koehler, The Wedge Guy

Terry Koehler has been in the golf industry for over 30 years and currently spends his days as the President of EIDOLON Golf, a small premium wedge company in Victoria, Texas. He's been blogging for over 3 years and has written hundreds of articles ranging from golf tips to equipment issues. His blog will appear on ClubSG twice per week. You can reach Terry to have your golf questions answered at askme@thewedgeguy.com.

One of the more difficult aspects of golf, in my opinion, is learning the "touch" shots, those less-than-full swings that you need to score. It seems the vast majority of golfers are challenged by these, more than they are by the full swings, in fact. This topic was brought back to the front of my mind by an email from Paul A., who related his frustration with this part of the game:
"I've been playing golf about 4 years and I have a question about how you control the distance of your wedge shots when you are more than a chip out but less than a full swing of your lob wedge? In one camp you have the people that say to use the same club all the time and just learn to feel the distance. In the other are the advocates of using three different swings for all your wedges and then learning the distances of each different swing for each club. I haven't had much consistency with either method. I would sure appreciate you addressing this."
Well, Paul, first of all, congratulations on being this week's winner. I hope getting your new EIDOLON wedge will be a step in the right direction as you work to improve your short game. Now, let's get on with how to help you build a scoring system that will help you with those partial wedge shots.

To begin, you do have to realize that this part of the game takes as much practice, or more, to develop as the full swing shots. In order to have touch and feel, you have to have a “database” of shots you’ve successfully executed to draw from. The more good ones you have in that database, the more likely you are to be able to pull one out of your arsenal with confidence. But that all starts with having a technique you can rely on, so let’s build that.

I’m a believer that the closer you get to the green, the slower you work. I compare the short game to the house painter. Painting walls allows full and powerful strokes with a large brush or roller, but as you get to the trim work, you work slower and more deliberately. Wedge play is a lot like that. It’s easier to make a longer, slower swing, than a short “jabby” one. I’m also a proponent of controlling your swing power with the rotation speed of your body core. To hit the ball further/harder, you rotate through faster. To hit the soft touch shots, you rotate through a little slower. The key to that is to keep the hands “quiet”, so that you are not flipping the clubhead, and let the upper body, arms and hands work in perfect unison.

I’ll add that I’m not a proponent of learning “three different swings”, but rather of just allowing your feel to determine swing length, and focusing more on learning multiple “paces of rotation”. If your hands (and therefore the clubhead) are always coordinated with the pace of your body core rotation, you’ll quickly learn how to manage the pace of that rotation to produce various distances.

I suggest you spend time with your gap and sand wedges, and practice this core-driven approach. Learn how the ball will fly with various swing lengths and core speeds, with each of the two clubs. You can further vary the ball flight by gripping down on the club to different points on the grips – the shorter the club, the lower and shorter the ball will fly.

This is a very large topic for such a short forum, but see if that doesn’t get you on the right track. And chime back in to let me/us know how it’s working out for you.

Thanks for sending in your question, Paul, and congrats on the new EIDOLON wedge.

* The Wedge Guy's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.


photo source
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
SanDiegoLee says:
14.9 Index, ten years playing history and the pitch, lob, flop, from 50 yards to the pin is a serious adverse scoreing aspect to my game. I seem to be able to place the ball on the ground within two feet of my target 70%? of the time, but how far it rolls is a crap shoot!

GolfSmith in vista no longer provides their club fitting for club distance data accumulation. It seems to me they are loosing money -as I would pay to have this service-, when it is not in use to fit clubs.

Is there a formula, guide, guestimation coorelation to flight distance, roll distances to wedge, assuming a 'flat green surface'?

My younger brother, golfing for 30+ years, takes an extra shot to get on the green, but when he uses his Pitching wedge to get on the green, from 30-60 yards out, he almmost allways gets inside my ball relative to the hole.

A formula for green roll, relative to wedge, would be appericated...
8/4/10
 
NEdomer says:
LeeWoodard--

Assuming a flat green surface the method I learned was to find the club that took the first hop a few feet onto the green and let it roll and the ratio for each club was:

PW - 1/2 flight, 1/2 roll
8i - 1/3 flight, 2/3 roll
6i - 1/4 flight, 3/4 roll
8/4/10
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
 
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