Ever have that frustrating feeling of just not being able to find your swing? Wait, you play golf, of course you have! We all have! Sometimes it’s a result of taking a layoff from the game due to seasons, work, or injury. Even more challenging, sometimes it happens at some point during the golf season. No matter when it occurs, or what the reason is, an easy way to get back to feeling good contact is by practicing partial wedge shots. For me, it’s 45 or 60 yard shots. The yardage isn’t important. What is important is practicing partial swing shots with your two shortest wedges.
I feel that practicing this type of shot is a great way to find your game for two very simple reasons. First, by swinging your hands approximately hip to hip, you are focusing on the most important half of your swing, the bottom half. The way you deliver the club to the ball should be the same on all swings and these shots allow you to hone your technique. Secondly, by making these half-swings, the club is moving a little slower, making it easier for you to feel and control how you’re swinging the club. In this short motion, you can easily see and correct the two most common faults of swing path and angle of approach to the ball. If you’re hitting the ground behind the ball or hitting very thin, you’re most likely approaching the ball too far from the inside or your angle of approach is too shallow causing the club to be moving upwards as it reaches the ball. Conversely, if you are topping the ball or taking very sharp divots, you are most likely swinging the club from outside to in on a very steep plane. Whatever the fault is, it will show up immediately in these partial swings. Once you are hitting these shots solid and on line, begin to increase the length of your swing gradually. Once you get to the point where your accuracy and consistency of contact diminishes, go back to the previous length swing. That is the maximum length swing you should use for any club.
Another benefit to this is that now you will have a reliable shot to hit from those in-between yardages. I mentioned that mine are 45 and 60 yards. This was by effect, not design. When I practice partial swings with my two shortest wedges, that’s how far they go. Knowing that has served me very well when I find myself with that type of shot on the course.