Tiger Woods, Fred Couples deliver masterclass on 50-yard wedge shots

15-time major champ Tiger Woods joins 1-time major winner Fred Couples to walk through how to master a 50-yard wedge shot

See how Tiger Woods and Fred Couples approach short wedge shots.

YouTube / PGA TOUR Superstore

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve learned from our GOLF Top 100 Teachers is this: The greatest players excel from 100 yards and in.

While every amateur loves trying to add yards or decode why they keep mishitting a 6-iron — both important problems to solve — it’s even more critical to master your wedge shots from within 100 yards.

So how can you do that? By watching the video below (courtesy of PGA Tour Superstore’s YouTube), which shows Tiger Woods and Fred Couples describing a variety of shots from that distance. Let’s get it!

Tiger Woods and Fred Couples share 3 types of 50-yard wedge shots

When you’re within 50 yards, a variety of shot types can be effective.

So whether you’re playing a draw to use the slope of the green, a cut to add some spin or a shot with a lower ball flight, Woods provides some details on how he approaches each shot type.

“I like to play a slight draw for me, personally, so I’m always aimed slightly right, face slightly open and closing it slightly at impact,” Woods says.

How Woods hits a cut (or fade)

“If I’m going to hit a cutter, I want it to hold the grain and hold it against the hill. So I stand closer to it,” Woods says. “What people don’t realize is, I’ll shut the face down a little bit. So my face is open for a draw and it’s slightly open for a cut.

“The draw’s going to be slower, and it’s going to be more armsy — because it’s going to go farther.”

This is the key to hitting successful fades and draws
By: Eric Johnson, Top 100 Teacher

Regardless of which wedge shot you’re hitting, Woods reminds players to always set the clubface in the direction that you want to start the ball.

“Wherever I want the golf ball to start out at is where I put the face,” Woods says. “So if I’m going to start it out to the right, my face is going to be open. Then I try to close it down a little bit [as I come through impact].

Couples then chimes in, adding, “A lot of people think that, because they have to hook it, they have to shut the face. But that’s hard to control.”

“I don’t like that,” Woods says. “Wherever I want the ball to start out at is where I have the face.”

How Woods controls ball trajectory

Couples asks Woods if his secret sauce from within 130 yards is his ball trajectory. Woods says it is.

“How high I want to hit it, trajectory, spin — this is all feel,” Woods says. “And this is millions upon millions of reps. If I want to hit a straight ball really high, I have a higher follow through.”

But when Woods is looking for a lower ball-flight, he alters his setup a bit, controls his clubface differently, and then shortens his backswing.

“Now for a low, driving shot, I put the ball off my right toe, face slightly shut, hold off on it [and then hit it],” he says.

Couples notices Woods going at the pin aggressively, which Woods says is a byproduct of cutting the ball.

Says Couples, “Yes, technique is huge, but when he’s going at it harder, it’s because he’s cutting it. That doesn’t mean that everything’s tightening up and he’s going at it [with a steeper angle of attack].”

Why Woods likes to use a hook shot with his wedge

Finally, Woods shares his tips for hitting a sweeping hook on a 50-yard wedge shot.

“My face is way open, and this is where I stand a little differently,” Woods says. “I stand further away from it, I’ll stand flatter, make my arc more round, and [after hitting] we can see how it has a lot of hook to it.”

Use the stack and tilt method to hit perfect wedge shots from 50-125 yards
By: Nick Dimengo

Couples asks Woods to describe a moment during around when he might hit that type of shot.

“Yeah, I’m using the slope,” Woods says. “Say we’re at Augusta and I have a back pin. I’ve got that big, huge slope on the right, so I’m going to use that to feed it down [to the pin].”

So if you’re looking to dial in your 50-yard wedge shots, using the advice from Woods and Couples above will help you get the feel for different types of options. Give them a try and see which ones work best for you.

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