How to Hit All-Feel, No-Think Shots with Stewart Cink: Wedge Play

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Stewart Cink: How to Hit All-Feel, No-Think Shots 3. WEDGE PLAY I know a lot of smart people talk about hitting to your perfect lay-up distance, but that's too much thinking in my book. Unless there's trouble in front of the green, I just hit it as far as I can. My feeling is that the closer you are to the hole, the easier the next shot is. Your goals change when you're hitting wedge shots. Because of the short shaft and high loft, most players can hit these clubs straight, so distance control is the most important element of your wedge game. The trick is to figure out exactly how far to hit the ball. My wedge swing is a 50-50 blend between mechanics and reaction, because I want to react instinctually to the situation. Sure the cart's GPS may say 80 yards, but with the wind behind you and a sun-baked green up ahead, you may only need a 58-yard shot. On the other hand, playing into the wind to a damp green might make this 80-yard shot play 105 yards. You need to read your wedge shots like you'd read a putt. MY 3 KEYS TO HITTING EFFECTIVE WEDGE SHOTS 1. Keep still Remain still and don't let your left heel move during your swing. Your weight shouldn't shift much, and you should swing easy — somewhere between the speed of a 7-iron and a greenside chip. 2. Ball back Move the ball back in your stance. Because you are using a high-lofted club, you must catch the ball first. If you hit the ground first, the club will either dig in (fat shot) or bounce off the ground (thin shot). 3. Feel your shot Some teachers encourage a scientific approach to wedge shots (for example, make a three-quarter backswing with a 56-degree club for a 55-yard shot), but this doesn't work for me. Like a basketball player shooting a 20-foot jump shot, I just know what this shot feels like.
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DRILL: HOW AND WHEN TO HIT HIGH AND LOW WEDGE SHOTS Try to determine what the goal of your shot is and how the ball will react once it reaches the green. If you're playing to a back pin on a firm green, hit it low by using setup 1 and follow-through 2. To hit it high and soft, copy setup and follow-through 3 and 4.