Know your pitching numbers by Kenny Monaghan

GD Nov 13

This month we are going to look at the importance of wedge play and in particular, distance control. As we all know, wedge play is regarded as the scoring zone in golf and is a great opportunity for us to take advantage of a short par 4, an approach short on a par 5 or just as importantly, to recover when you have lost position.  The first thing we should look at is club selection. I have four wedges in my bag, starting from my standard PW (48), 52, 56 and lastly my 60 degree lob wedge. These clubs provide me with four different trajectories and distances.

One of the main problems I see with most amateur golfers is the lack of distance control  with wedge shots and critically, a misunderstanding when it comes to playing these shots at less than full speed. It is important to understand that an inconsistent rhythm leads to poor distance control and bad strikes. Below, I've outlined two important points I believe are fundamental to good wedge play.

Set Up

Try to build a consistent set up. Take a narrow stance and have your ball position further back than normal to encourage a downward strike. Your arms should feel a lot closer to your body than they would for a full shot. My weight is favouring my left side by 70 per cent and it stays there throughout the swing.

Impact

This is a dynamic impact position. My hands are leading the clubhead as I strike the ball, promoting shaft lean and helping me hit down. Keeping your weight left-sided throughout the swing will help you get here.

Distance Control

Knowing your distances is crucial to effective wedge play, and it's something tour professionals are extremely proficient at. With four different lofts, you can build a repertoire of even more shots by using swings of different lengths. In the main image, I'm varying the length of my backswing, but on every shot, my rhythm doesn't change. Working on these different backswing lengths and varying club selection will give you a good feel for the type of shots that work well on the course and your scoring should improve dramatically. Our Academy course at Dubai Creek is a great place to work on this aspect of your game, featuring holes ranging between 55 and 115 yards.

GD Nov 13 2

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