Connect with us

Instruction

Why you’re pulling your wedges, and how to stop

Published

on

One of the best feelings in golf is to hit a monster drive within wedge range — especially when your buddies have 7-irons in their hands back behind you — so you can actually attack the pin. You take dead aim at the flag, but after you hit your shot you look up and see the ball heading left of the green with its left blinker on. Crap! Your buddies hit the green with a 7-iron, but you just dumped it in the hay with a wedge.

Why does this always happen with your wedges? Why can you never take advantage of your length off the tee? I’m here to tell you why.

In order to hit wedges straight at your target you need to have your club path and your impact face angle moving down the line together at impact (within reason). Now we know there is most always some diversion between the face angle of your club and its path, but if you can make it small and have everything moving towards the pin the ball will fly pretty straight. This is especially true with wedges, which fly straighter than your other clubs because they create higher spin lofts that negate curvature.

Figure 1

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 5.26.08 PM

Take a look at Figure 1. The white line in the left window is the target line, the blue line is my path and the red arrow is my impact face angle at impact. See how the path and face are more or less heading toward the target? This is what we want to see in order to hit straight shots with wedges.

Pull with wedges can be due to a few different factors, but the first most common problem is what I call “happy hands” through impact. Happy hands refers to a slowing down of the body’s rotation through impact, causing a flipping or rolling of the hands. That thrusts the face angle left of the club path. In Figure 2, you will notice that the path is from the inside at 3.3 degrees, but the face angle is -3.1 degrees left of the target. For that reason, the shot started a touch left of the target and moved farther left, as you can see in the ball’s curvature screen.

Figure 2

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 5.26.17 PM

The secret to stopping these pulls is to go to the range and hit shots with head covers under your armpits. This drill makes your body and arms stay more in sync through impact, reducing happy hands. When you body is connected, the hands will work with — not against — the motions of the torso.

A side note about equipment: Wedge pulls can also be caused by wedges that are not fit correctly. If a wedge is too upright, golfers can hit pulls when the heel of the club impacts the ground and flips the blade left… the heel dragger. Standard off-the-rack lie angles for wedges are 64 degrees, but many PGA Tour players use wedges with slightly flatter lie angles to deal with long rough that can shut their club faces through impact. Getting the proper lie angle is just as important as choosing the correct loft and grind, so if you’re serious about your game make sure your wedges are dialed in by a reputable club fitter.

The second type of pull is one born out of a club path and club face that are too far left of the target at impact. As you can in Figure 3, the path and the face are inline, but they are pointed well left of the target. This can be caused by faulty alignments or an over-the-top motion caused from an improper pivot during transition.

In order to stop this type of pull, make sure you swing your wedge like you try to every other club — from the inside, never from out-to-in — unless you are hitting a special shot. I would suggest hitting balls off an uphill, sidehill lie (where the ball is above your feet) in order to gain a better understanding of this transitional feel.

Figure 3

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 5.26.28 PM

The third and worst type of pull is the over-the-top, happy-handed yank shown in Figure 4. This is caused when your right shoulder starts the downswing and your pivot stalls through impact, allowing the hands to take over. In fact, this type of shot is one that kills beginning and intermediate golfers when the ball is above their feet.

Once again, the secret here is to swing more from the inside and keep the rotation of your body moving to reduce the flipping motion of the hands at the bottom.

Figure 4

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 5.26.38 PM

If you’re pulling your wedges, one of these three reasons — or your wedges themselves — are causing the problem. Armed with this knowledge you should be on your way to diagnosing the problem, but I always I recommend seeing a qualified PGA Professional or professional club fitter to help you make the fastest and most sustainable progress.

Your Reaction?
  • 141
  • LEGIT16
  • WOW5
  • LOL3
  • IDHT5
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK16

Tom F. Stickney II is the Director of Instruction and Business Development at Punta Mita, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (www.puntamita.com) He is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, and has been honored as a Golf Digest Best Teacher and a Golf Tips Top-25 Instructor. Tom is also a Trackman University Master/Partner, a distinction held by less than 15 people in the world. Punta Mita is a 1500 acre Golf and Beach Resort located just 45 minuted from Puerto Vallarta on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the Bay of Banderas on three sides. Amenities include two Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses- with 14 holes directly on the water, a Golf Academy, four private Beach Clubs, a Four Seasons Hotel, a St. Regis Hotel, as well as, multiple private Villas and Homesites available. For more information regarding Punta Mita, golf outings, golf schools and private lessons, please email: [email protected]

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Chris

    Sep 9, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Tom

    Can “happy hands” with wedges also cause ballooning (gap and sand wedges launching 30-34 degrees) on full shots or is this caused by something else?

  2. Snowman9000

    Sep 9, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    When the wedge is too upright in the normal ranges of lie angles, it’s not that the heel digs and makes the club turn over. It’s simply that the face points to the pull side. Two degrees upright with a wedge will make a noticeable difference to the pull side.

    • kloyd0306

      Sep 10, 2016 at 5:06 am

      Absolutely correct but the biggest surprise is that Stickney doesn’t know this. He, along with many who also don’t know, need to visit Ralph Maltby’s brilliant explanation on You Tube.

  3. ron

    Sep 9, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    I bought one of those magnetic things to stick on your club face to show where the face is aiming, and realized that what looked square at address was actually aimed way to the left. Now I set up with a face that’s “looks” slightly open= No more pull shots.

    • emerson boozer

      Sep 14, 2016 at 3:56 am

      i need to get me one of those. good idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instruction

Clement: The shot that created the short game legend that is Phil

Published

on

We show you how Phil added a lot of longevity to his golf game when he stopped trying to nip and tuck his golf swing and opened up the valves! Then see the most awesome short game shot ever made in competition by far which created the legend that is Phil. See how you, too, can create your own backward flop shot to sharpen your short game and have some fun!

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL1
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

Instruction

Clement: How grip affects pressure and vice versa

Published

on

This video is a big one! It addresses a huge common flaw that so many golfers have at address where they are not ready to be dynamic with their target but rather are perfectly positioned TO BE STILL WITH THE BALL. This opens up a can of worms for bad contact for thin and topped shots with lack of proper divots, early extension, bad compression, and bad trajectory that can’t perform in the wind. Massively important video coming up!

Your Reaction?
  • 7
  • LEGIT2
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Instruction

Davies: This swing move will change your driving forever

Published

on

Alistair Davies shares with you how to drive the ball consistently well. This magic move will help you hit straighter longer drives. He shares the secret to Rory McIlroy’s success with the driver.

Your Reaction?
  • 13
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB1
  • SHANK5

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending