How and when to putt with your wedge by George Kasparis

The belly wedge is one of my favourite practice shots from around the green, and here's why. In order to get the ball rolling smoothly right away, you have to make contact with the leading edge precisely in the centre of the ball. If you impact too low, you'll strike it more like a chip, too high and you'll top it and not get the roll you need.

GD May GK 1

Belly wedge in Practice
Just by practice putting with a wedge and getting the ball rolling to the hole, you'll develop a better feel for a pure strike. I like to go out on our par 3 course here at Dubai Creek just with my 54 degree wedge and play every shot with that club - you can work on distance control with your pitching, chipping, bunker shots and especially putting, because it makes things just that little bit more challenging, so when you do get your putter back in your hands, it's going to feel a lot easier.

Belly wedge in play
This exercise also doubles up as a useful oncourse shot you can add to your repertoire. Every now and again your ball will come to rest against the collar of thicker rough cut against the fringe of the green. Neither a standard chip nor putt is ideal here, because it's hard to get a wedge into the back of the ball and your putter will be snagged up in the grass, making it difficult to judge pace of stroke. Having practiced the belly wedge, you can simply take your wedge and play it just like you would a putt, ensuring that the leading edge strikes the centre of the golf ball. The longer grass won't affect this shot at all and you'll find yourself enjoying many more tap ins for par, and maybe even the odd hole-out.


The Benefits
When you practice with a conventional putter, it's often difficult to gauge whether you're striking it purely. Instead, hitting putts with a wedge offers instant feedback. You'll know straight away if you're getting the leading edge to strike the ball dead centre. I play these shots exactly as I would a normal putt, even using the same palm-facing grip. You'll soon notice the benefits when you switch back to the putter. 

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