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For the majority of golfers, improved wedge play will shave several strokes off the scorecard.
For the majority of golfers, improved wedge play will shave several strokes off the scorecard. (Courtesy Mogens Ottesen)

Good wedge play equals better scores

Chuck EvansBy Chuck Evans,
Special Contributor

In this article we're going to discuss wedge play. For most players their greatest loss of shots are from 100 yards and in, this means that they're not effective with their wedges.

There are multiple variations of wedge shots available to the player and these can range from three quarters shots, leading edge shots, trailing edge shots, knockdown shots, and a shot that is prevalent on the PGA Tour - the flat-footed wedge. Let's talk about the differences between the shots.

First the three-quarter shot. I firmly believe and teach that wedge swings should never go back any farther than three-quarters of the way. Wedges have the most offset and the most loft of any club in the bag and this makes them the easiest club in the bag to pull. So by taking the club back three-quarters of the way it is much easier to control the distance and direction.

A leading edge wedge shot is just that, the player is striking the ball with the leading edge of the golf club and de-lofting the shot. This produces a lower trajectory and higher spin rate.

The trailing edge shot is just the opposite. Think of a bunker shot, we normally use the trailing edge of a golf club because we're trying to add loft and we don't want the club to dig into the sand. This produces a higher trajectory and less spin. You can also think of this shot as a lob shot.

A knockdown shot produces an even lower trajectory then a leading-edge shot and usually takes one hop and stops. And finally, the flat-footed wedge. You see a lot of players on TV use this shot. They make a three-quarter length backswing, then swing down through the ball while finishing fairly low with their feet staying flat. So this is primarily an upper body stroke that makes it easier control distance and direction.

Remember, wedges are NOT for distance but rather for accuracy. So the next time you have a 90-yard shot into the green don't try to muscle a lob or sand wedge. Instead make a three-quarter swing and use a gap or pitching wedge to control your distance and accuracy.

Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."

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