Big Play: Molinari's wedge to four feet for birdie on 16 in final round of HSBC

Big Play: Molinari’s wedge to four feet for birdie on 16 in final round of HSBC

Francesco Molinari's wedge on 16 helped to secure his one-stroke victory over Lee Westwood.
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

WHO: Francesco Molinari
WHAT: 89-yard wedge from the rough to four feet for a birdie
WHERE: 288-yard par 4 16th hole at Sheshan International Golf Club
WHEN: Final round of the HSBC Champions

Molinari’s swing reminds me of Steve Stricker’s action. Like Stricker, Molinari has very little play with his hands, wrists and arms. It’s a mostly one-piece, up-and-down motion that doesn’t have any excessive hand and wrist movement. It’s a swing designed for consistency, not speed and distance, and that notion is proved by Molinari’s statistics on the European tour.

Greens in regulation: 7th, 72.6%
Driving accuracy: 5th, 72.1%
Driving distance: 145th, 280.1 yards

I especially like how Molinari keeps the club accelerating through the ball all the way to the finish. Doing that enabled him to generate a fair amount of spin on the wedge at 16 from the rough.

You can’t hit a good wedge unless you hit the ball first, and most players don’t do that. Most people make the clubhead hit the ball before the grip passes the ball. In fact, the opposite sequence should happen: the grip should pass the ball, and then the clubhead should hit the ball.
To develop proper contact, put a coin or a tee into the turf two inches behind the ball. The tee should be all the way down into the turf. Now swing and try to make the club sweep over the coin or the tee coming into impact. If you avoid the tee or the coin, you’ll hit the ball first. After practicing this drill, you can leave a little bit of the tee sticking above the turf. If you can avoid the tee when some of the tee is sticking up, then you’re a real expert.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Steve Bosdosh teaches at The Members Club at Four Streams in Beallsville, Md.