May 31, 2006
When faced with a half wedge over trouble, many golfers do not feel comfortable. The half wedge is a difficult shot especially when there is trouble between you and the green. Too many golfers try to hit the perfect shot when the pin is tucked behind trouble and there is a lot green to work with. Try the following tips to help your scoring when confronting the half wedge.
When you are faced with half wedge distance, first determine where your danger zone is (the spot you can not hit the ball). The danger zone is a critical piece of information that will help you in selecting the club and spot you want to leave the ball. If there is a bunker between you and a tight pin, the bunker would be your danger zone. Choose your wedge and swing the length that will get the ball over the bunker and stop on the green. If the ball stops 10 to 15 feet past the pin, you will be in better shape than having to get up and down out of the bunker.
Whether the trouble is water, deep grass or a sand bunker, make a swing you know will clear the trouble. The perfect shot is not usually the high percentage shot. Having confidence in the shot you are about to hit will only increase your ability to execute the shot properly. If you are using a lob wedge (60 degrees), sand wedge (56 degrees) or pitching wedge, let the club get the ball into the air. Play the ball a touch back in your stance and make a swing with minimal wrist hinge. The key to hitting this shot is accelerating through the hitting zone. If you are trying to hit the ball over trouble, the common mistake is to slow down during the forward swing and leave the ball short in your danger zone. Let the length of your swing control how far the ball will travel in the air. The longer the swing, the further the ball will travel. For your set up position, put 60 percent of your weight on the forward leg and play the ball in the middle of your stance. The set up will help in hitting ball with a descending strike and making sure your center of mass moves forward during the swing.
In conclusion, pick a club and make a swing that will avoid getting into too much trouble. Get the ball on the green and give yourself a chance to make the putt. If in trying to play the perfect shot, you are unsuccessful, the strokes will add up when tallying the scorecard.
Ben Sinclair is a PGA member and golf pro at the Park City Golf Club.
For information on lessons and tee times, please call the golf shop at 615-5800.