Golf coach Seán Hawker explains how to effectively wedge play for lower golf scores
– May 15, 2015
Seán Hawker has been the Resident Golf Professional at Morgado do Reguengo Resort since January 2014 and has a strong reputation for providing top class golf lessons for members and visitors to the Algarve.
Fluent in English and Portuguese and also a qualified Golf Psychologist, Seán coaches pupils from across the globe many of whom are regular clients. In this feature Seán focusses on effective wedge play and emphasises the correct technique for playing what can be a difficult shot but also one with the potential to dramatically improve short game performance.
“When using a sand wedge or high lofted club open the clubface to raise the loft of the club even further for an even ball trajectory. To play this shot effectively, the correct set-up is crucial. An open clubface will make the ball fly to the right and so you should aim the clubhead 10 – 15 feet (3 – 5 metres) left of the hole as you place the club behind the ball.
Image 1 illustrates the mistake of playing this shot lined up directly to the target. The correct set-up is demonstrated in Image 2 with the set-up clearly to the left of target and with the open clubface aiming at the hole.
It is crucial to take your normal set-up with the ball in front of the middle of your stance for the correct ball position as shown in Image 3.
Also, avoid the common mistake of having the hands too far in front of the ball as this makes the clubhead swing from behind you and inside the line of the ball almost certainly resulting in disastrously bad contact!
Open the clubface, turning it to the right so it aims at the target and only then take your grip. Make sure that you set up with the top of the grip pointing directly at your navel to ensure that the club swings parallel to the line of the ball allowing the open clubface to strike the ball cleanly.
“Of course, swinging the club correctly is crucial to playing this shot well and there are certain vital fundamentals. As always, you should rotate the body around its spinal axis, leading your arms and hands through the swing and follow through with both lower and upper body. Do not make the mistake of swinging the club in the direction of the target rather than parallel with the line of your body! Grip the club lightly and use a soft, relaxed wrist action as you swing. Also keep in mind that while this shot does not require a strong wrist action it is important to maintain an open clubface throughout the swing to keep the loft of the clubface as high as possible for the high shot desired.
“There are a range of high lofted clubs available for modern golfers and by using the correct technique there is no reason why you should not take advantage of their undoubted benefits around the greens. Practise the techniques I have shown you here and your scores will improve.”