Short-Game Secrets: The Wonders of Wedges

Want to take your game to the next level? Who doesn’t?

Having the right mix of wedges for your game goes a long way

Want to take your game to the next level? Who doesn’t? But the secret to scoring isn’t found in a fancy new driver, or some funky training aid you found online. No, the fastest way to improve your handicap or score is simply through your short game — your technique, and your tools.

Understanding the correct technique to hit a soft pitch shot to a front pin, or a low bump-and-run shot to a back pin is important. How you decide what type of shot to play and what wedge will help you get the job done depends on the situation (lie, yardage, wind, elevation, pin location, green speed, and your confidence).
The key to versatility around the green is to have versatility in your wedges with different lofts, bounces, and grinds. Next to the putter, the wedges are the most overlooked tools in your bag for not being custom fit. Statistics show you use your putter and wedges for over 60% of your shots during a round. For the bulk population of golfers, these are the most important clubs in your bag.

How many wedges should you carry? I recommend most players carry three or four wedges, depending on the player’s skill level, technique tendencies and course conditions. Our wedge fitting starts with a gapping analysis, which looks at the lofts of the wedges. Most players fit into a wedge system with a four-to-six-degree loft gapping. Next, we fit the club length and lie angle to assist in center contact shots that start on the target line. The next step is to test different bounces and grinds that fit the player’s technique and course conditions. During this process we test different heads and shafts that assist with optimizing spin rates, launch angles, descend angles, and the players preference on looks and feel.

Key takeaways to improve your wedge play:

1. Get fit for the correct wedges to assist in maximizing your short-game performance.

2. Take a lesson from a coach to learn different types of techniques for different types of situations.

3. Practice and develop your wedge game skills to improve your score.

Making improvement in your scoring doesn’t have to be a long road. It’s as simple a shoring up your short game.

Travis Becker is two-time PGA Teacher of the Year in Wisconsin, and Director of Instruction of Ironworks Golf Lab, Beloit, Wisconsin. For more information, visit