Drop 5 Strokes

Add to your arsenal of short-game shots and hit to tap-in range every time

By practicing quarter-, half- and three-quarter shots with each wedge in the bag, you’ll be able to accurately gauge the distance for each shot. The distances in-between will ultimately become a matter of feel. Players who haven’t practiced their quarter-, half- and three-quarter shots leave too much margin for feel, often having no real idea how far back to swing the club for their given shot. That player will always struggle to control their distance and will certainly lack the needed confidence.

One other benefit of practicing and developing this system for your wedge play is that once your distances are defined, you’ll be able to hit wedge shots the same distance, but with different trajectories. This gives you multiple shotmaking options. For instance, on one hole you may have a 65-yard shot to a back pin into a stiff wind, so you opt to hit a little more than a half-wedge. On the next hole, you turn downwind, but have the same 65 yards to a tucked pin, so you opt to hit a fuller lob wedge. These are fine points you can develop once you’ve built your base system.

The bottom line is that if you put the time into working on this system, you’ll learn to be able to control the distance and trajectory of the ball for all your wedge shots that are less than full. When you’re on the course and you’ve figured out the distance you want to carry the ball, you’ll be able to choose a shot that gives you the best access to the pin, given the conditions. Most of all, when you’re standing over the shot, you’ll have confidence because you’ve had the benefit of practice and, more importantly, experience. The final outcome is that you’ll save more pars and, hopefully, have a few more birdie chances.

PGA professional and top-100 instructor Todd Sones operates Todd Sones Impact Golf Schools at White Deer Run GC outside Chicago, Ill. (847-549-8678, www.toddsones.com)



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