Short-Shot Checklist

To get it close from inside 100 yards, make sure your swing features these 10 elements

Keep the Club Out in Front4 Keep The Club Out In Front
This is a big one. When taking away the club, never, ever let it get behind your right hip. If it does become trapped, there’s just not enough time or speed in the wedge swing to reroute the club back on plane, as there sometimes is with a long iron or driver swing. If you whip the club to the inside, it’s likely it will stay there—expect a lot of pushes, fat shots and results short and right of your target.

The key to a successful short-shot takeaway is to use your right elbow as your guide. As mentioned earlier, set up to the ball with your right elbow close to your right side—at the very least, inside your left. As you take away the club, that right elbow shouldn’t move either forward or closer to your hip, just straight back, away from the target until it naturally hinges. The key is to push the club away from the ball with your left shoulder, moving in unison with your arms. It’s an easy move that keeps the club on plane and in position to arrive at the ball on the proper path. You know you’ve done it correctly when the shaft remains in front of your body all the way to the top. If it’s not in front, it likely will be behind, and that’s not what you want.

Take Control5 Take Control
If there’s one thing for certain in golf, it’s that you rarely face the same exact shot twice in a round. The full-swing wedge shot we’re discussing here could be 100 yards, or 70, or maybe 77 yards. Furthermore, you should never find yourself adding speed, or applying the brakes, to any swing to dictate how far you hit the golf ball. Shot distance with your short clubs—for all clubs, really—is dictated by the length of your backswing, not speed or tempo. Remember, tempo is a constant in golf; backswing length isn’t. It’s, therefore, critical that you spend time and, for each wedge in your set, know how far you hit with 50%, 75% and 100% backswing lengths. There’s nothing wrong with taking notes. Make an inventory of shot distances with varying backswing lengths. For instance, I hit a 50% sand wedge 60 yards. It’s also the same distance as my 75% lob shot. See? Now I have options and, more important, I have the means to hit the golf ball the exact distance the shot requires.

Stay Grounded6 Stay Grounded
Okay, this one’s simple: keep your feet on the ground. Sounds straightforward, but you’d be amazed by how many people actually lift their left foot on the backswing and rise up on the toe of their right on the downswing. Remember, we’re talking about the wedge swing—that smooth, controlled, relatively slow motion where accuracy reigns supreme. Instead of “toe dancing,” keep your feet grounded and focus on the movement of weight in your feet rather than movement of the feet themselves. Feel your weight move to the right foot on the backswing (toward the heel), evenly to the middle of each foot on the downswing, then toward the heel of the left foot postimpact. Stay grounded! Doing so will also help you hit down and through like you should. Your right foot shouldn’t lose contact with the ground until the force of your swing naturally pulls it up.


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