How To Hit the Different Wedge Shots
Getting on the green is without a doubt the most challenging part of golfing. It becomes especially difficult when you struggle from in-close and can’t put your wedge shots near the cup. It is important to realize that every wedge shot is different from the other and this is why you need to know what options are offered to you to play the best shot possible.
There are three main wedges shots for you to use when you’re looking to get on the greens and we’ll look at all of them:
- The Chip
- The Pitch
- The Flop
This is the most important wedge shot to master as a successful chip will usually get you within a close enough distance from the cup so that the putt becomes a formality for you. In layman's terms, the chip can be described as a bump and run.
As the name suggests you’re simply trying to get the ball on the green softly enough for it to roll towards the hole. Basically, it is very simple to achieve once you figure out how to brush the grass properly. However, distances often become an issue with this shot as it can run very long on the green if you use the wrong club.
Lucky for you, there’s a very simple tip for you to take advantage of when you’re close to the green. The Rule of 12 is the secret that will help you out with your future up and downs.
Simply put, it is a measure of how long your ball will roll depending on the chosen club and the distance your ball has to cover in the air before making contact with the green.
So the best way to apply this technique is to start out by identifying if a chip shot is the appropriate shot to use in your current situation. Once you’ve established that it is, you need to look for the easiest surface for landing your ball on the green on your way to the cup.
After you’ve decided where you’re sending your ball, you need to figure out which club you’re going to use. You can use this as a regular rule of thumb:
- SW: 1 yard in the air for 1 yard of roll
- GW: 1 yard in the air for 2 yards of roll
- PW: 1 yard in the air for 3 yards of roll
- 9-iron: 1 yard in the air for 4 yards of roll
- 8-iron: 1 yard in the air for 5 yards of roll
- 7-iron: 1 yard in the air for 6 yards of roll
- 6-iron: 1 yard in the air for 7 yards of roll
You should also keep in mind that the roll of the ball is exponential to the distance it needs to cover in the air before making contact with the green. So if you need to cover three yards in the air with your pitching wedge, it will usually roll for another nine yards.
Obviously, a lot of factors come into play with a shot like this (elevation, slopes, ball lie, green speed, wind), but in perfect conditions, this will help you with your consistency.
The video below goes into more details regarding the distance ratio when it comes to chipping.
This is your typical approach shot with a wedge. When hitting a pitch shot you’ll want to have your body moving as a whole as you still need to have a relatively soft touch on this shot.
When hitting a pitch, you’re not looking to use a full swing unless you’re at the absolute limit of your reach with the club in your hand. What you’ll want to do is simply have a fluid swinging motion to send the ball as close as possible to your target.
The beauty of the pitch shot is that you get to control the distance of your shot by managing your backswing and your swing speed.
Another perk of the pitch shot is that you can manage the spin on your ball. Depending on what the green calls for (a stopping shot, a roll-back, a forward roll), you’ll always be able to adjust your pitch shot to fit your situation.
This is without a doubt the most impressive and most difficult wedge shot to pull off. We’ve all seen Phil Mickelson and his wizardry around the green, sometimes facing away from it. Lefty knows the secret to sliding under the ball to launch it high up in the air while stopping it on a dime when it touches the green.
As you can imagine, the degree of difficulty on this shot is excessively high which makes it hard to achieve for the everyday golfer. Nevertheless, there are some tips to know in order to be able to pull it off.
First of all, we recommend you start practicing for this shot with a proper high-lofted wedge like a lob wedge. The trick of flipping the ball will be much easier with the right tool. Once you’ve picked the right club, you’ll then have to learn the technique to execute the flop.
Basically, what you’re trying to do for the flop is to graze the grass right under the ball to shoot it straight up in the air. This also means that you’ll need the perfect lie to perform this type of shot. The ideal lie you’d be looking for is a soft and long-grained surface. In a perfect world, your ball would be sitting on top of the grass, but you’ll still be able to complete the shot even if your ball is a little deeper in there.
Make no mistake, however, if your ball is buried deep in there and you need to hit against the grain, do not even consider the flop. In order to send the ball up in the air, you’ll need to use a lot of hand movement to maximize the speed of your clubhead at the point of impact.
The high amount of spin will send your ball straight up and, once you understand how to control the distance on this shot, will land close in tight to your target.
Mastering all these shots can take a lifetime for most golfers. There’s a reason why the best in the world are showing up on our TV screens on Sunday’s and it’s because they have put an enormous amount of time and effort into their craft. It’s that type of dedication that can lead you to master all these shots.
However, now that you know how to properly use all three of them, your road to mastering them can truly begin and they can be added to your arsenal next time you show up to the course.
Until Next Time,
The Golf Avenue Team