How to Hit Solid Wedge Shots by Correcting These Mistakes

By Todd Kolb
October 17, 2019

Don’t Know How to Hit Solid Wedge Shots? The First Step is to Eliminate These Common Amateur Mistakes from Your Game.

Want to know how to hit solid wedge shots?

If your wedge shots aren’t as accurate or consistent as you want them to be, the solution is probably much easier than you think. In my twenty-plus years of teaching golf, I’ve seen it proven time and again that the biggest difference between good wedge players and bad wedge players is their ability to understand and control their shot trajectory.

To put it more simply:

The biggest mistake most amateur golfers make with their wedges is hitting the ball too high.

It’s true. You can see remarkable improvement in your wedge shots just by bringing the trajectory down. And I’m going to explain how you can do that by making three super easy adjustments to the way you hit your wedges.

Let’s get started.

Tip #1: Club Selection

When a player asks me how to hit solid wedge shots, I usually start by telling them to select the right club.

I know—that seems a little basic . . . maybe even so obvious it doesn’t need to be said.

But here I am saying it, because it’s a mistake I see all the time. When most amateur players get ready to hit a wedge shot, they reach for the most lofted club in their bag—usually something around 58 degrees. Then they make a full swing at maximum speed. Here’s the problem with that:

A lot of loft + a lot of speed = a lot of height

Hitting a high-lofted wedge is going to heighten the trajectory of your ball flight, making it difficult to control ball spin and distance.

My advice is to start pulling out a wedge with a lower loft. Try something around 54 degrees. You’ll find that the trajectory comes down, helping you improve accuracy and distance control.

Tip #2: Ball Position

Optimizing your ball position is often the greatest and simplest change you can make to improve any shot.

Now, for a lower lofted club like a 9- or 8-iron, you want to position the ball in the center of your stance.

However, when you’re preparing to make a golf wedge shot, your best bet is to position the ball slightly back of center. Then, while your ball is in this behind-center position, move your hands slightly in front of the ball. That creates a backward shaft line, takes a little bit of loft off the club, and helps bring the trajectory down.

As a side note: When I work on ball position with my students, I like to use the Rimer short game trainer. It’s a great tool for ensuring accuracy and training the eye to judge your setup better. If you’re using the Rimer to work on ball position for your wedge shots, position each foot at an end bracket, position the slider at “I”, then line the ball up with the slider. Then you’re good to go.

Tip #3: Length and Speed of Swing

When you increase your clubhead speed—all things being equal—you get more height. This is especially true when you also get the kind of loft a wedge provides. In order to get a steady, controlled golf wedge shot, bring that swing speed down just a bit.

Just as important, look at shortening the length of your swing. We don’t think about length as often as speed, but this is a key component in bringing that trajectory down when you’re hitting your wedge.

Many amateur golfers use the same swing length with their wedges that they use with their driver. As a result, the ball pops way up into the air, compromising accuracy and distance control.

So then, what’s the correct swing length for golf wedge shots?

Let’s look at it like a clock. When you take a full swing, your hands typically go all the way back to an 11:00 or 11:30 position. For wedge shots, however, you should only hit about 10:00 at the top of your swing. That shorter swing length helps you hit a low, steady shot.

How to Hit Solid Wedge Shots: The Short Version

So let’s sum up.

The next time you’re on the course preparing to hit a wedge shot, you’re going to:

  • Think about the club you’re using and select a wedge with a lower loft.
  • Position the ball a little farther back in your stance—just behind center—and make sure there’s a little forward lean on the shaft at setup.
  • Focus on shaping your swing motion so it’s about ¾ the length of your regular full swing.

Make these simple changes and I promise you:

Your trajectory will come down, your speed will come down, and your ball will finish closer to the flag for shorter putts on the green . . . and fewer strokes between you and the cup.

Share Your Opinion

Do you feel like you have a better understanding of how to hit solid wedge shots? Have you been making any of these mistakes? Do you have a difference of opinion or some tips of your own to share?

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