The secret to hitting perfect short pitches

Tina Tombs wedge setup

Developing a good wedge game can dramatically lower your scores.

Tina Tombs

The 20-30 yard shot over the bunker — also known as a finesse wedge, or soft pitch — is an essential weapon for every player’s arsenal. Gaining confidence in your wedge performance will make a huge difference in your scores.

Here are the three most important elements to consider when it comes to your wedge game:

Technique, or how you execute the shot. If the technique is not there to support the shot, the mental side (i.e., your confidence) goes. If you fix the technique, your confidence will come back with full force!

Skill development. You want to get to the point where you are capable of executing your selected shot at least 50 percent of the time. This requires effective and efficient practice!  

Equipment. It’s important to get to know the loft and bounce of your sand wedge, and it’s equally important to get fitted with the proper wedges for your game. (Visit GOLF.com’s sister company, True Spec Golf, to schedule a custom club fitting.) 

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Remember, when hitting a finesse wedge shot, bounce, loft and gravity are always your friend. Here’s how to make sure you’re set up for success:

1. Assess the situation

Take into account your lie and distance to the hole, then figure out the air time vs. ground time to determine the shot that you want to hit.

Tina Tombs

2. Use a finesse grip

For a right-handed player, the trail hand grip should be weaker, so the right hand is more on top of the grip as opposed to being to the right and underneath the grip (see photo above).

3. Adjust your stance

Use a narrow stance and let your lead foot flare out a bit. You should feel like about 70 percent of your weight is centered on your lead foot. Let your knees flex — they should feel soft for maximum feel and agility. Ball position should be center to forward in your stance.

Tina Tombs

4. Check your setup

Keep your eyes directly over the ball (see photo above) and make sure your hands and club shaft are even with the ball and centered.

When you take your backswing, your chest will rotate through the shot and support the lead arm and club while the lower body provides stability and balance. As you swing through impact, remember, gravity is your friend and keep your energy flowing toward your target. The feel should be similar to tossing a ball. 

Once you get the basics down, one of my favorite ways to get comfortable with a new technique is to incorporate what I call “random practice.”

Throw some balls around the chipping green and try to land each ball in a certain spot so you can see the ball rolling slowly into the hole. Using this random practice routine will help you build confidence and trust in all situations around the green and will dramatically improve your short game.

To read more women’s golf content, visit golf.com/womensgolf

Do you have the right wedges for your game? Schedule a fitting with the experts at our sister company, True Spec Golf.

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