By Dave Pelz
Thursday, February 22, 2007

Do you have trouble pitching from mounds around the green? The problem may not be your swing, but your face. The face of your wedge, that is.

On wedge shots, most golfers set up with the clubface grooves perpendicular to the target line. They assume that by aligning the grooves that way, they are aiming the clubface at the target. But that's not always so, as one of my favorite training aids proves. Aligning with the grooves perpendicular to the target line works great from level lies. The same alignment works when you crouch to hit a shot below your feet. But face-groove alignment and aim are not always the same, particularly if the ball is above your feet.

With the ball higher than your stance, you must flatten the angle of your club to the ground at address — and through impact. This shifts the aim of your clubface to the left, even if you keep the grooves at a right angle to your target line. The leftward shift gets more severe with higher clubface lofts and steeper sideslopes. If you're using a lob wedge on a steep sidehill lie, the shift can be dramatic.

The solution is simple. Don't aim straight ahead as usual and change your swing, as many golfers do, trying to keep their hands ahead of the club at impact and "block" the shot from flying left. Instead, simply aim your grooves and stance to the right, and swing normally. Once you get a feel for how far right to aim, your pitches will start hitting their mark.

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