One of the aspects of competitive golf that is noticeable in the limited field events of the silly season is the importance of having short game skills. Wedge play, imagination around the green, and putting skills are always important of course, but I notice the expertise, or lack of same, much more in the limited field events. More shots, from fewer players gives a better feel for how a player gets around the golf course.
Jim Furyck, Steve Stricker, Tiger’s putting on the last day of the President’s cup, and Zach Johnson in the Chevron are all great examples of utilizing short game expertise to separate themselves from their competition this fall. How does this offer an answer to your own golf score issues? Short game skills are learned and not dependant on physical ability, so the example set by the great players is achievable for us all.
For today let’s focus on the wedges. The first step in creating better short game skills is too make sure you have the right equipment and that the equipment fits your method and style. I know you have heard it all before, but club-fitting is more important as the club gets shorter. Wedge fitting is very important and the most neglected. Lie angles, shafts, club head construction are all critical elements that have a huge influence on your ability to play the variety of shots necessary to improve your short game.
The golf club has more influence on the golf ball, than the player! A golf swing produces three things, speed, face orientation to path direction, and an angle of attack. The knowledge of these aspects is critical to learning to play all golf shots. However, if the equipment doesn’t fit the swing the results are at best unpredictable. For example, a swing that would produce a shot on target, with the correct trajectory, flies low and left if the lie angle of the golf club is too upright at impact. Now what do you do? Change a correct swing action to adjust for the golf club? You are asking for trouble. The variables you must add to your technique to correct for a poor fit just adds steps to the mental checklist needed for every shot. How many variables can you remember?
The good news is that wedges are easily fit indoors with a launch monitor and a lie board. The launch monitor will give you the speed, spin and launch information necessary. A lie board will show you how the club impacts the turf. This information is needed to determine what grind at the bottom of the club and the different lofts appropriate for your style of play. A competent fitting professional can walk you through the process. If it all seems too confusing, you can always contact me through the media outlet you find the column and I will be glad to help you through the process.