3 tips for hitting a half wedge, according to an LPGA pro

Ahead of the Shoprite LPGA Classic, GOLF.com caught up with LPGA pro Paula Reto for her tips on hitting half wedge shots.

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GALLOWAY, N.J. — Walking the driving range at a professional tournament is always impressive. Unlike the range at your local muni or country club, not a shot is wasted, and everything is done with a purpose.

The way the pros hit the ball is different as well. This might seem obvious, but until you see — and hear — a pro hit a shot up close, you won’t fully understand how stark the difference is. Sometimes, it seems as though they are playing an entirely different game than the weekend warriors.

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On no shot is that fact more apparent than wedge shots. While amateurs flub and thin the shorties with regularity, pros consistently nip the ball off the turf and control their distances with ease.

At this week’s Shoprite LPGA Classic, GOLF.com caught up with Paula Reto to get her tips for hitting crisp wedges every time. Below are her three keys.

1. Lower body stacked on the left side

Setup on less-than-full wedge shots is key. And for Reto, this means getting her weight ever so slightly on her front side at address — roughly 60-40.

“Then I don’t have to think about shifting my weight on those small shots,” Reto said. “It makes it easier to be more consistent with distance control.”

Paula Reto demonstrates perfect form on a half-wedge shot. Zephyr Melton

2. Spine titled away from the target

While your weight should be slightly forward, you still want your spine to tilt behind the ball. This angle will allow your swing to bottom out at the proper spot and create solid contact.

3. Upper body turn

With the setup elements nailed down, all that’s left to do is make a good swing. And for the best swings on short wedges, you want to use the biggest muscles you have. This means rotating your body and keeping your wrists and hands quiet. Bigger muscles are easier to control, so using them on these short shots will create consistency from shot to shot.

“Rotate, rotate, rotate,” Reto said. “You can use your bigger muscles without having to bring other things in, which makes distance control way easier.”

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Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.