This next challenge is all about your wedge game. When you watch the PGA Tour, any event, try to pay extra attention to the wedge shots being played. Not, the coverage will be a bit skewed because it will generally be showing the best players in the world, who are playing their best golf. But if you pay attention you’ll see that not everyone is hitting fairways and greens. For professional golfers who are having a bad ball striking day, their wedge game can keep them in the tournament and even save what would be a very good bad round, and make it an acceptable round.
One of the things you’ll notice is that they control distance through trajectory. The type of shot they play with their wedges depends on their lie, their line into the green, and the amount of green they have to work with. This determines whether they are going to play a high soft shot that lands near the pin, or a low runner that rolls up somewhere near the flag, or even a shot that leaves them 10 to 20 feet from the pin if there is a lot of trouble near it.
So part of what this new challenge will teach you is how to create different trajectories with your wedges so that as you play you can see new options for you. A mistake many people make is that if they have 125 yards to the pin, they’ll pull out their 125 yard club and hit a full shot. It may not be the right choice, and usually isn’t. But because amateurs never really practice different trajectories they don’t really see the other options. They try to hit everything as a full shot.
I went to the driving range yesterday with this in mind. I reserved 20 balls for my long game and 80 for my wedge game. I picked out several targets from 60 to 125 and proceeded to try different trajectories to each one. At first it wasn’t easy. Since I hadn’t really done this, it was challenging to know how far to hit it. It took most of the bucket to start getting a feeling for how each wedge (and actually even my short irons all the way to a 7) could be used to hit those various targets. Once I started to get the hang of it, it was a lot of fun. I probably landed a low percentage at the correct distance, but I wasn’t that far off and I’m excited to become better at it since I understand what it will do for my ability to score on the golf course.
After hitting all 80 balls, I switched to my long game and hit a few balls with each club all the way to driver. What I noticed was that everything felt a bit more in sync. And my long game seemed to be more accurate.
After the driving range I went to the short game area to work on shots of 15 and 30 yards. I had a blast playing them from all kinds of lies and it started to build my confidence. I was doing the same thing with the 3 different trajectories and it just seems to open up your imagination. I even put some balls in the trees and was able to get a majority of them on the green, some quite close to the pin.
In many ways, I found this type of practice much more rewarding than strictly long game practice. It exercises your imagination and forces you to play different kinds of shots. All in all day 1 was a success and I look forward to see how this practice affects my scoring and play on the golf course.
To join this challenge click here.