Lighten Up Your Wedge Swing

Lighten Up Your Wedge Swing

If your club feels heavy, you're using the wrong technique.
Leonard Kamsler

Great wedge players are experts at distance control, and the foundation for their success is solid mechanics. One common breakdown in mechanics that we often see in our short-game schools is a "no-wrist-cock" backswing (inset, right). Notice how my body is in good position and my left arm correctly points to 9:00 on an imaginary clock for the three-quarter wedge shot I want to hit, but I've failed to hinge my wrists. From this position, I won't be able to generate sufficient power at impact and the spin needed to hold the green.

You'll know you have this problem if your wedges feel very heavy at this point in your swing, as though a five-pound weight is hanging from the clubhead. If you don't think your wedges could ever feel heavy, try holding one in this position for five minutes—your arms and wrists will be on fire, I assure you!

Now wipe that visual from your mind and replace it with the one depicted in the larger photo. At the same place at the top of my three-quarter backswing, you can see that my left arm is still at 9:00, but my wrists are fully cocked and the club points to the sky. When you get to this position in your swing, you'll notice how much lighter your wedges feel, as though a helium balloon is holding the clubhead up.

The next time you're on the practice range, warm up by setting your wedge in the "light" backswing position, with your left arm parallel to the ground and your wrists cocked so that the shaft points to the sky. Then, move into a "light" finish, this time with your right arm parallel to the ground and the clubhead hinged up. Close your eyes and swing slowly between these two light positions as your muscles warm up, feeling your swing as it moves from "light to light." Your wedge success will skyrocket.