Want an elite short game? It all starts by following these simple tips
Roger Cleveland is one of the smartest minds in the equipment industry. So when he offers up pearls of wisdom, it’s best to take them to heart.
The master wedge craftsman recently introduced Callaway’s Jaws Raw wedge and spent time chatting with GOLF’s senior equipment editor, Ryan Barath, about the genesis behind the design on the latest Fully Equipped podcast.
Having created wedges for every conceivable golfer, Cleveland knows what it takes to build a strong short game around the tools in your bag. But when it comes to elevating your short game, even Cleveland knows it takes more than a magic bullet to get there.
“I think it’s understanding the short game and what is really needed to hit certain shots,” Cleveland said. “The best players in the world spend quite a bit of time on their short game. What I mean by that is from inside 30 or 40 yards. What I would recommend is we have a lot of different grinds for a particular attack angle. If you’re steep and have a lot of set in your wrists, we have a wedge for that.”
In other words, start honing your short game inside 40 yards — which is essentially a pitch shot — like the pros. Golfers have a tendency to fixate more on the full swing than the shots around the green they’ll more likely encounter during the course of a round. Something else to consider is how you impact the ball, and whether the grind and/or bounce is ideally suited for your move. That said, Cleveland suggests getting shallower for “more speed” through the shot.
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Callaway Jaws Raw
“The ideal technique is a little different — you want to be shallower because you create more speed with the rotation of your body,” he said.
And lastly, stop thinking a new set of wedges with inconsistent action is going to rid you of the chunks. Instead of jumping from one wedge to the next, start with the suggestion Cleveland gives everyone who frequents his clinics.
“One of the things I encourage when I go out and do clinics is to go take some short game lessons,” he said. “The pros are aware of this need and focus on it. I don’t have a long game anymore; I have two short games, actually. Go out and make some effort and you’ll be rewarded.”
These are simple suggestions, but sometimes that’s all a golfer really needs to shore up the short game. Find a certified teaching pro and take a lesson; seek the help of a club-fitter to help your gear work for you; and maybe, just maybe, you’ll make that short game one of your strengths.
Want to overhaul your bag for 2022? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.