golf short game

Golf Short Game – Your Pitching Wedge Is Your Best Friend

As I was watching the US Masters it reminded me just how brilliant the best players in the world are with their pitching wedges and how much this contributes to their short game.

Key things I noticed when I saw the pros hitting wedge shots:

  • The sole of their club head just kisses the ground when they play the shot
  • Their angle of attack is nice and shallow
  • They make a tiny divot when chipping and hitting small pitch shots

To achieve this they are using something many amateur golfers don’t use or don’t know how to use – they are using the bounce on the sole of their pitching wedge.

The sole is the bottom part of the club head that rests on the ground at address. If you have a sand wedge, hold it so the sole of the club head is at eye level. You will see the bottom of the club head is angled. This is the bounce angle on the sole most commonly called the ‘bounce’.

The trailing edge is the lowest point of the sole and the leading edge is the highest part of the sole. The difference between these two points is the amount of bounce the club has as opposed to the bounce angle.

Most amateur golfers use the leading edge of their pitching wedge when chipping and pitching – Mistake!

This usually means you have a hard time with your short game including:

  • You ‘duff’ a lot of chip shots
  • You take a large divot
  • Your ball shoots across the green at times and you find it difficult to judge distance
  • Generally you have a poor success rate with your short game

This is because your strike must be perfect every time since you are using such a small part of the golf club – if your strike isn’t perfect you will hit a poor shot.

On the other hand if you are someone who hits the ground but takes a small divot, then you have a shallow angle of attack and you have a high degree of success with your short game. You are someone that uses the bounce on your wedge. You get away with some poor strikes and you hit some great shots. You find it easier to control the distance on your shots and the flight of your shots is controlled.

How do you start to use the bounce on your pitching wedge?

the bounce angle

Firstly you need to have the correct set up. Have your ball position slightly forward of the centre, yes I said forward.Other golf instructors may tell you to put the ball back in your stance. Ignore

them and get the ball forward. Have the shaft of the club fairly straight instead of pushing your hands towards the target. If you push your hands too far forward towards the target you will start to use the leading edge and start to dig. Having your hands fairly straight so the butt of the shaft on the club is pointing more at your belly button means you are able to use the bounce.

Place your weight on your left side if you are a right handed golfer. This is opposite if you are left handed. Make sure your sternum is in line with the ball. This will help you strike the ball first and then the ground. Setting up in this manner means you are more likely to have a shallow angle of attack and will be more likely to use the bounce on your wedge.

If you do this you will have more success with your short game and reduce your scores

It will take a little time to master this since your initial instinct will be to keep leading with the hands and this may lead to some thin shots. But stick with it and persevere because it really will bring you a big improvement to your short game.

How much bounce do you need?

One final thing to mention here is that the amount of bounce you need on your wedge depends upon the type of ground you are playing off and your swing. Talk to your local golf pro about this and try some different wedges with varying amounts of bounce to see which one suits your game best.