Head Games with Wedge Shots

by Gary
(Chicago)

Lou, How are you !!

I'm now a registered (after 20 + rounds this year) as a 3.7 handicap.

About once a round I have a mental breakdown when faced with a relatively simple 40 to 50 yd pitch into the green.I forget how to play golf! I either scull it or chunk it!

When I go to the range I pull out the wedge to start warming up and feel afraid to start out with it. The thoughts of chunking it come back,

or..
I hit so hard down on it that I spin the hell out of it and it only goes about 20 yards. Once I calm down everything seems to come right.

Some days I will either get very wristy, or throw my hands way out in front to overcome this weird quirk.

Any suggestions other than seeing a psychiatrist?

Gary

Louis reply

Congratulations on the handicap!

Gary, you are not alone with this problem! Lack of solid basic technique creates confusion in the mind and you become too thoughtful trying to sort out the problem.

Make a start by focusing on the basic fundamentals of the set up and ball position. With any swing less than a full swing, timing and rhythm are critical factors and should be adhered to all the time.

The ball position should be in the middle of the heels and the weight a little more on the left foot to start with.

Move your left hip till it is over your left foot, in a straight line so to speak. This is the correct way to keep more weight on the left foot.

You don't want to lean over on the left, rather push the left hip slightly forwards towards the target.

Once you feel comfortable with this set up, it is time to practice with different swing lengths. The best way to do this is to gauge your swing length with how far back you swing your hands.

Firstly, keep the hands, arms and shoulders relaxed as possible. This is the only way to build timing and rhythm.

Start with swinging the hands back to hip high and through to hip high, keeping your swing speed consistently the same.

This is critical!!

Make sure your club brushes the mat or grass at impact in the same spot each time.

When hitting balls notice how far the ball travels, repeat over and over till you see the ball going more or less then same distance each time.

If you want the ball to go further, swing your hands up to chest height and through the chest height, keeping the swing speed the same.

Never try to accelerate your hands at any time. Remember you want to build a consistent swing speed at all times during this exercise.

During your swings, the weight remains on the left foot and never transfers.

Feel your arms and shoulders moving in unison and try as much as possible to feel the club head with your hands during the motion.

You will soon be trusting your swing lengths and the ball will be flying the correct distance each time.

I would also suggest you simulate playing conditions when you practice. This is a great time to develop strong visualization for your desired outcome of these shots. Think of shots you have had in play and recreate the situation at the range.

Go through your pre-shot routine before each shot just like you do in play. It is vital to maintain the same mindset during practice as you do in play.

This will almost certainly accelerate your improvement in a shorter time span and guarantee you transfer your practice to the golf course.

Send me a comment on your progress.


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