Treat wedge shots like ‘a plane landing on a runway,’ says Top 100 Teacher
YouTube / @AndrewRiceGolf
Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
There aren’t too many golf teachers out there who can show amateurs how to bomb their driver 350 yards. But just because you can’t smash the ball off the tee like Rory McIlroy doesn’t mean that you can’t improve your score — it just means emphasizing the short game and shots from around the green.
That’s where understanding how to hit wedge shots comes into play, as the golfer who masters this part of their game is often the one scoring pars and even birdies — even if you’re a 14+ handicap.
For golfers looking to give themselves easier putts after hitting a solid wedge shot, which is every player I’ve ever met, take a look at the video below. As GOLF Top 100 Teacher Andrew Rice says, ride your club on the ground “like a plane landing on a runway,” which will help avoid chunking or blading your wedge shots.
How to hit wedge shots more consistently
In the video, Rice demonstrates how he’s able to drag his wedge on the ground “for at least 8 inches” before striking the golf ball, which will help eliminate the possibility of shanking the shot. This is something most amateurs struggle with, as they’re worried that making contact with the turf is a recipe for disaster — but not when you know how to hit wedge shot the right way.
Focus on your set up
As Rice shows in the video, setting up for a wedge shot means putting your feet together first, with a relatively narrow base, centering the ball with your sternum.
He adds, “the key that I find is keeping the chest rotating, which will enable the club to skim along the ground just like we want.”
Change your perception about ball-striking
As mentioned earlier, many amateurs think they should only focus on hitting the ball first before making any contact with the ground. That mentality is driven by fear of chunking the ball, meaning a player’s getting too much dirt before the club meets the ball. Rice says it’s important to change your thinking.
“Don’t worry about contacting the ball before the ground. Your objective is always going to be ball first, ground second. Let’s just understand that, sometimes, that club is going to scrape or glide the ground coming into the golf ball.”
Most amateurs often avoid anything to do with turf interaction on the golf course. It’s ingrained in them that they will mishit the ball, causing more headaches and more shots each hole. But Rice debunks that myth in the video, and offers his tips on how to hit wedge shots with more touch and accuracy. By using his advice, you will overcome your turf monster anxiety and perform better around the green.