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How to Hit Partial Wedge Shots - Learn your Tweener Yardages


mvmac
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A common question or issue we see golfers posting about on the site is distance control with their wedges. They complain about not having enough "feel" when it comes to figuring out how far to hit a partial wedge shot.

Erik Barzeski ( @iacas ) and Dave Wedzik lay it out perfectly in Lowest Score Wins . The book is the best investment you can make for your entire golf game. (BTW I don't make any money off sales, just a fan of the book ;-) ).

Since I don't want to give out too much information from the book, this will be a quick post to give you a general idea.

Distance control comes from good technique ( Quickie Pitching Video - Golf Pitch Shot Technique ), hitting the ball relatively solid and monitoring your backswing length. Touch or "feel" comes from having good mechanics.

Rather than controlling or varying the distance by changing the speed of the downswing, just change the length of the backswing.

Here's three examples of me hitting my 58 degree wedge varying my backswing length. Note how the followthrough lengths are similar.

The mechanics I'm using are a hybrid of pitching and full swing. I feel like I'm just making a longer pitching motion. Basically my stance is narrow, arms are soft, butt of the club is higher at A1 and the pivot is a simple "turn and turn" with my chest. I'm letting the weight of the club head fall as I pivot. There isn't a lot of shaft lean at impact and this helps me shallow the angle of attack and utilize the bounce of the club.

All downswings feel like they are the same speed. A full length, full swing mechanics 58 wedge goes about 85 yards for me. You'll notice how I'm emphasizing "feel" because what may feel like a 1/4 backswing is actually a little longer. The point is to match the feel to hit a certain backswing length so I can vary the distances.

45 yards, feels like a 1/4 backswing.

55 yards, feels like a 1/2 backswing.

65 yards, feels like a 3/4 backswing.

I'm just using a 58 with the swings above but you can hit a 40/50/60 yard pitch with any wedge and with varying amounts of loft. We would recommend you put in some time with all your wedge varying the length of the backswings and track how far each shot lands. Something like this . You can even have the yardages taped on your wedges.

1) Take all of your wedges to a course or field or something.

2) Hit 10 balls with your first wedge swinging back to whatever you want to call 1/4 position.

3) Hit 10 balls with the same wedge going to half.

4) Hit 10 going back to 3/4.

5) Hit 10 with a full swing (skip this for the lob wedge perhaps).

6) Write down the distances they carry.

7) Repeat for other wedges.

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Mike McLoughlin

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A common question or issue we see golfers posting about on the site is distance control with their wedges. They complain about not having enough "feel" when it comes to figuring out how far to hit a partial wedge shot.

Erik Barzeski (@iacas) and Dave Wedzik lay it out perfectly in Lowest Score Wins. The book is the best investment you can make for your entire golf game. (BTW I don't make any money off sales, just a fan of the book ).

Since I don't want to give out too much information from the book, this will be a quick post to give you a general idea.

Distance control comes from good technique (Quickie Pitching Video - Golf Pitch Shot Technique), hitting the ball relatively solid and monitoring your backswing length. Touch or "feel" comes from having good mechanics.

Rather than controlling or varying the distance by changing the speed of the downswing, just change the length of the backswing.

Here's three examples of me hitting my 58 degree wedge varying my backswing length. Note how the followthrough lengths are similar.

The mechanics I'm using are a hybrid of pitching and full swing. I feel like I'm just making a longer pitching motion. Basically my stance is narrow, arms are soft, butt of the club is higher at A1 and the pivot is a simple "turn and turn" with my chest. I'm letting the weight of the club head fall as I pivot. There isn't a lot of shaft lean at impact and this helps me shallow the angle of attack and utilize the bounce of the club.

All downswings feel like they are the same speed. A full length, full swing mechanics 58 wedge goes about 85 yards for me. You'll notice how I'm emphasizing "feel" because what may feel like a 1/4 backswing is actually a little longer. The point is to match the feel to hit a certain backswing length so I can vary the distances.

45 yards, feels like a 1/4 backswing.

55 yards, feels like a 1/2 backswing.

65 yards, feels like a 3/4 backswing.

I'm just using a 58 with the swings above but you can hit a 40/50/60 yard pitch with any wedge and with varying amounts of loft. We would recommend you put in some time with all your wedge varying the length of the backswings and track how far each shot lands. Something like this. You can even have the yardages taped on your wedges.

Is it normal for your "1/2" vs. "3/4" swing to only differ by 10 yards? I started doing this after reading Pelz's short game stuff and I find that my distances between swing lengths are closer to 20 yards (then again I've never filmed it, so maybe feel isn't real applies here). Pelz's "typical" numbers in the Short Game Bible seem to confirm a larger distance gap between swing lengths for the same club. Just wondering if I'm possibly doing something wrong, or are 20 yard gaps right for me...

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All I ever did, (which was lazy of me) was to know how far I (carry yardage) hit each of the 4 wedges I carry using a full swing, or half swing.  When I knew I had a wedge shot coming up, I would always the use the right club on the previous full swing shot that would give me a known wedge distance being left over. Doing that, I rarely ever had any unknown wedge distances. Most of my "tweener" yardages were for the shot before the wedge shot.

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A whole bunch of Tour Edge golf stuff...... :beer:

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BTW, here are my wedges.

( @newtogolf will note that I have numbered my wedges 1, 2, and 3. Always have. )

I cut those into three strips and tape them beneath my grip on my wedges. To hit a shot, say, 70 yards, I first pick the trajectory I want (as every club can go that far), then based on these, grip down a little and/or make the appropriate length swing.

It's that simple.

Erik J. Barzeski —  I knock a ball. It goes in a gopher hole. 🏌🏼‍♂️
Director of Instruction Golf Evolution • Owner, The Sand Trap .com • AuthorLowest Score Wins
Golf Digest "Best Young Teachers in America" 2016-17 & "Best in State" 2017-20 • WNY Section PGA Teacher of the Year 2019 :edel: :true_linkswear:

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Is it normal for your "1/2" vs. "3/4" swing to only differ by 10 yards? I started doing this after reading Pelz's short game stuff and I find that my distances between swing lengths are closer to 20 yards (then again I've never filmed it, so maybe feel isn't real applies here). Pelz's "typical" numbers in the Short Game Bible seem to confirm a larger distance gap between swing lengths for the same club. Just wondering if I'm possibly doing something wrong, or are 20 yard gaps right for me...

Whatever works for you to hit your numbers. My shots might only differ by 10 yards because I'm feeling more a "lazy" pitching motion.

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Mike McLoughlin

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This makes a great deal of sense to do. Eliminates on course guesswork. I just read about it on [URL=http://lowestscorewins.com/]Lowest Score Wins[/URL], and definitely intend to create the distance labels.
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Yet another thing I meant to do, but never got around to. There's a park by my house I'm going to try this at. If I go early enough in the morning, there shouldn't be anybody around. Not sure if I'm actually allowed to hit golf balls in a park, though.

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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Yet another thing I meant to do, but never got around to. There's a park by my house I'm going to try this at. If I go early enough in the morning, there shouldn't be anybody around. Not sure if I'm actually allowed to hit golf balls in a park, though.

As long as you pose no threat to anyone, and there are no posted signs. Seems like it's okay. I am just lucky that one of the local golf course has a special pitching/chipping area.

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Never heard of 'taping information' onto the shaft. Sounds like a plan.  I'll simply write down 285 and put that on my driver.  Is this a legal modification of the club?

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Yet another thing I meant to do, but never got around to. There's a park by my house I'm going to try this at. If I go early enough in the morning, there shouldn't be anybody around. Not sure if I'm actually allowed to hit golf balls in a park, though.

Careful. I used to hit balls all the time in parks, figuring that if there is no sign prohibiting it, and no one around, that its okay.

Not so. Often there are local ordinances against it, even if there is no one else around and no sign. Sure would hate to have you find that out from some cop having a bad day and looking for someone to ring up.

Fortunately the cop who talked to me was having a good day and just told me to leave and don't do it again :-)

Steve

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Is this a legal modification of the club?

Yep

http://thesandtrap.com/t/27859/is-it-illegal-to-write-yardages-on-your-wedges#post_350196

Mike McLoughlin

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As long as you pose no threat to anyone, and there are no posted signs. Seems like it's okay. I am just lucky that one of the local golf course has a special pitching/chipping area.

Most of the courses I play do have short game practice areas. They're just not long enough to play 100 yard shots. [quote name="MrFlipper" url="/t/77861/how-to-hit-partial-wedge-shots-learn-your-tweener-yardages#post_1070391"]Careful. I used to hit balls all the time in parks, figuring that if there is no sign prohibiting it, and no one around, that its okay. Not so. Often there are local ordinances against it, even if there is no one else around and no sign. Sure would hate to have you find that out from some cop having a bad day and looking for someone to ring up.  Fortunately the cop who talked to me was having a good day and just told me to leave and don't do it again :-)   [/quote]I have a feeling that's how it is around here. I tried to look it up on the township's website and couldn't find anything.

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

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I did this late last year after advice from @David in FL in a thread about how many wedges to carry.  I went to 3 wedges, PW, 52 and 58 and worked on the 52 with partial swings.  Then after reading Lowest Score Wins , I re-applied it to the 8 iron all the way to the 58.  The biggest key, IMO is below.  Now I rarely do full swings below 120 yards and get much more accurate approaches.  I've only done 1/2 and 3/4 swings as well because frankly, @mvmac 's 3/4 swing is my FULL swing. :-) I will work on 1/4 swing this winter.

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Rather than controlling or varying the distance by changing the speed of the downswing, just change the length of the backswing.

If you haven't already, buy the book Lowest Score Wins .  Great investment.

Scott

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Most of the courses I play do have short game practice areas. They're just not long enough to play 100 yard shots.

I have a feeling that's how it is around here. I tried to look it up on the township's website and couldn't find anything.

100 yards might be pushing it a little. Why not just go to a local par 3 course?

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TM White Smoke Big Fontana; Pro-V1
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Ping i20 irons U-4, CFS300
Callaway XR16 9 degree Fujikura Speeder 565 S
Callaway XR16 3W 15 degree Fujikura Speeder 565 S, X2Hot Pro 20 degrees S

"I'm hitting the woods just great, but I'm having a terrible time getting out of them." ~Harry Toscano

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A great game/drill I've used for years for partial shot "feel" is the ladder drill.

Pick a range of yardages......10 to 100 yards, 50 to 150 yards....whatever you want to work on.  Then see how many shots you can play within that range.  The caveat being that each successive shot must be longer than the previous shot.  You're done when you fail to hit a shot longer than the previous shot or when you hit one outside of the designated range.

It was actually used as one of the challenges on Big Break last week and is a lot of fun to play with a buddy or two with a little something on the line.  Guaranteed to tighten up your distance control.

In David's bag....

Driver: Titleist 910 D-3;  9.5* Diamana Kai'li
3-Wood: Titleist 910F;  15* Diamana Kai'li
Hybrids: Titleist 910H 19* and 21* Diamana Kai'li
Irons: Titleist 695cb 5-Pw

Wedges: Scratch 51-11 TNC grind, Vokey SM-5's;  56-14 F grind and 60-11 K grind
Putter: Scotty Cameron Kombi S
Ball: ProV1

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100 yards might be pushing it a little. Why not just go to a local par 3 course?

It's hard to find the right time to go out when there won't be other players around. I'm surprised at the number of people around here that play golf in the middle of the work day. I'm probably going to end up doing this on a course at the crack of dawn or something. Hopefully get out as a single and put a few holes between myself and whoever may be coming up and spend some time on it.

Bill

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” - Confucius

My Swing Thread

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It's hard to find the right time to go out when there won't be other players around. I'm surprised at the number of people around here that play golf in the middle of the work day.

I'm probably going to end up doing this on a course at the crack of dawn or something. Hopefully get out as a single and put a few holes between myself and whoever may be coming up and spend some time on it.

Yeah, me too!

Oops. . .

:ping:  :tmade:  :callaway:   :gamegolf:  :titleist:

TM White Smoke Big Fontana; Pro-V1
TM Rac 60 TT WS, MD2 56
Ping i20 irons U-4, CFS300
Callaway XR16 9 degree Fujikura Speeder 565 S
Callaway XR16 3W 15 degree Fujikura Speeder 565 S, X2Hot Pro 20 degrees S

"I'm hitting the woods just great, but I'm having a terrible time getting out of them." ~Harry Toscano

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3/4 swings as well because frankly, @mvmac's 3/4 swing is my FULL swing.  I will work on 1/4 swing this winter.

The 3/4 swing is pretty close to my full length swing. Like I said, it feels 3/4 ;-)

Mike McLoughlin

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Note: This thread is 1577 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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