Opinion: Four wedges may just be the answer to your short-game problems

Updated on Nov 25, 2018 02:30 PM IST

While playing a shot from approximately 20-80 yards, many golfers usually ask the question what is the best way to control the distance.

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByKaran Bindra

As we have said in previous articles, we must practice short game using a variety of clubs – the difference in the loft and length between clubs will vary the height and roll of the shot, as the need may be.

While playing a shot from approximately 20-80 yards, many golfers ask me what is the best way to control the distance?

One way is to change the length of the swing to get the ball to fly different distances. This is a good way to develop feel for distance and is used by a majority of players. Another way is to use different clubs for the same length of swing – which also changes the distance the ball flies. In this column, I will explain this method further.

But first, another question I am also frequently asked is how many wedges should one carry in the bag? The advantages of having four wedges in the bag are not only to get greater variety in the short game, but also to get greater control around the greens. Here’s how...

Carry a pitching wedge (46-48 degrees); gap wedge (50-52 degrees); sand wedge (54-56 degrees) and a lob wedge (60 degrees) in the bag. Now pick three different lengths of the backswing that you will play all four wedges with.

Pic 1 shows the backswing with the clubhead knee high.

In Pic 2, I am swinging the club back till the club shaft is vertical.

In Pic 3, I am swinging the club almost 80 per cent all the way back. This is the maximum I will swing any wedge, as a backswing longer than this will start to reduce control I have on the shot.

If your set-up is constant, you will notice that the ball flies a different distance with every different wedge (for the same length of the backswing). This is because we have a lower loft and a longer shaft every time we change over to a higher wedge.

Golfers who cannot get used to controlling different distances by changing the length of their swings, should use this method. You will also see that with the change in the clubs, and swinging the club back to three different lengths, you will get twelve different yardages – consistent incremental yardages. This should make up all yardages in the 20-80 yards range.

However, as you can have a maximum of 14 clubs in the bag; having four wedges means that you need to play without a long iron or fairway wood. Examine how many times you use a 3-iron or 5-wood during a round as against how many times you would need the extra wedge. It may be worth your while going to play with a 4-wedge system!

(The author has been a golf professional for over 20 years)

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