Master Your Wedge: Part One

We all know how bridges and airplane wings are built using supporting beams and struts, so it is fairly logical that if we wish to hit a ball hard that the same sort of engineering principles must be pretty useful. Part One looks at the structure in the backswing and part two (coming soon) will follow up with the downswing and follow through, showing just how much more power can be maintained using this simple format to your golf swing.

The Building of the Wedge Shot

In figure 1 you can see that I have the standard finger grip, which gives us a slight angle between the badminton racket and and the left arm. The left wrist is not cocked, it is level to the left forearm.

Fig 2 shows me holding a second racket in my right hand, this time in a palm grip so that the shaft lines up with my right forearm. I have the right wrist in a slightly bent condition, which can be seen in Fig 3 along with the left wrist held in its flat and level condition.

I now do nothing more than bring my hands together and both rackets will actually line up with each other as show in Fig 4 and this is how simple it is to build your wedge swing.

Throughout your entire swing the wedge can remain in place. The flat left wrist and bent right wrist never has to swap shape. Indeed if you mess with this set up you end up like 99% of golfers who suffer from what is known as clubhead throwaway, the dreaded flip at the ball, the scoop, the cause of so much woe and painful scorecards.

It is so bad that in this article I will refrain from showing you what is bad and instead show you what is good!

Educating Your Hands in Motion

The best way that I have found to learn how to improve your wedge swing involves not much more than educating your hands whilst watching yourself in a mirror.

Why? Because the ball and club will cloud your brain with a target rather than a motion.

Once you get the idea of the hands only motion, grab your badminton rackets and see how it looks with the rackets clubface giving you major clues. Only when you have the motion then have a go with a short iron to see what goes for real.

If you really wish to stop the dreaded clubhead throwaway do not pass go until you have this in your motor memory.

Let’s go through the wedge swing motion sequence starting at Fig 5.

Start with a flat left wrist, bent right wrist and a slightly bent right arm. Now the right forearm lifts the wedge up the plane, with your final target area to get your hands to the level of the top of your ears. The right hand also has the job of providing extensor (gentle stretching) action to keep your left arm straight.

You will notice that the back of left hand, which represents the clubface, fans open between Fig 6 and Fig 7, until the clubface sits on the face of the plane, which has happened by the time we get to Fig 8.

By the time we reach the top in Fig 9, our left hand has now also cocked which is shown left hand only with the racket.

One thing that some of you who have stood up and had a crack at this little backswing drill may have noticed is that at no point so far have I even mentioned a pivot. This is because if we give our hands a role to achieve then the pivot will follow of its own accord. Concentrating on your hands will relieve you of a lot of, though not all, “where should I be” questions.

At the position in Fig 9 you are really all set and ready to pull the pin, drop the bomb, go for it in your downswing.

If you have grabbed your rackets you will see at the top that your clubface is sitting pretty on the plane, not open nor closed. If it has gone errant then you will see that the right wrist will have increased or decreased from its initial angle which in turn changes the flat left wrist alignment to the plane.

Your backswing motion starts to give you a distinct feeling. Now is a good time to review the articles in our Golf School section on The Plane and revisit the Flashlight drill in particular. With your new feeling coming from this wedge motion, the flashlight drill will allow you to modify the angle you take the Wedge back to keep the motion perfectly on Plane.

I cannot stress enough the power of mirror work learning this engineering structure has. Be diligent in your backswing work and in the next article we will drop the bomb.

Look Look Look. Feel and be aware of your body working together as a motion. Once you get this power feeling the clubface control motions through the ball using the wedges becomes really fun too.

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