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Test your wedge game with Radius

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Wedge play is one of the most under-practiced part of the game, yet it is vital to good scoring. If you struggle with any sort of consistent contact or distance control, then make it a point this week to set an appointment to see a quality coach in your area to find out why you suffer with these shots. THEN, get to work on that technique and dialing in your distance control with this game.

Game: Radius

  • Gear needed: Wedges
  • Time needed: Depends on your dedication

Rules: Hit one shot from each of these five distances — 30, 45, 60, 75 and 90 yards — or from the distances you need to improve. Striving to hit the shot as close as possible to the hole, score those five shots in the following manner:

  • If you happen to hole the shot, you earn 10 points.
  • If it resides within 6 feet, you gain 4 points.
  • If the ball ends up 6-12 feet away, you receive 2 points.
  • If you find the ball outside of 12 feet, but still on the green, you get 0 points.
  • If you miss the green, you must subtract 2 points from your score.

Total the points from those five shots, then gather the balls and do it again striving to better your score. You’ll notice that from the longer distances points may be hard to come by, so go through your routine and make your practice focused and deliberate.

Score Recap

  • Holed shot: 10 points
  • <6 feet: 4 points
  • 6-12 feet: 2 points
  • 12 feet: 0 points
  • Missed the green: -2 points

Don’t forget to check out my 230-page book, Golf Scrimmages: Realistic Practice Games Under Pressure, as well as my interactive practice website www.golfscrimmages.com.

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Trent Wearner is the No. 1-rated teacher in Colorado by Golf Digest Magazine, as well as a two-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year (2004, 2014). Along the way, he has been recognized as a Top 20 Teacher Under Age 40 by Golf Digest, a Top 50 Kids Teacher in America by U.S. Kids Golf and a Top Teacher in the Southwestern U.S. by GOLF Magazine. Trent is also the author of the book Golf Scrimmages and creator of the website GolfScrimmages.com

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Stefan

    Oct 17, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I go to forest preserves, walk off distances, hit tons of balls, leave em behind if I can’t find them all. After about 15 shots, I’m hitting from a reasonable lie, helps with rough shots too. Occasionally, I’m told that’s not allowed, but less than annually and the coyotes and or deer generally outnumber the people…

  2. Anthony

    Oct 16, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I agree with the other posters here. Sounds like great fun, but where could anyone actually do this?

    Very few courses here in the northeast have anything other than a practice range with long grass (shortest flag 90-100 yards) and a putting green. You’re lucky if there is a sand trap to practice from.

    Sounds like a nice luxury to have an empty green and some fairway grass to practice wedge play from 100 yards and in but almost no courses or practice facilities offer this.

    I believe that is the reason it is seldom practiced …

    • Tom

      Oct 17, 2016 at 12:21 am

      interesting didn’t know that. Here on the west coast practice ranges have 100 yard greens and some have water trough’s @ 75 and 50.

  3. Philip

    Oct 15, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Not a bad idea, but I have never seen a practice green set up to do anything remotely similar to this.

    • Mat

      Oct 16, 2016 at 6:54 am

      These all seem like great yet impractical ideas. It’s not like I can go down to a TopGolf and insist on grass… The reality is that wedge practice is either very expensive per bucket, or very time consuming shagging your own. Maybe GK’s should mark out a few circles, but I just don’t see that happening.

    • Brian

      Oct 16, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Just use some sidewalk chalk.

      • Philip

        Oct 16, 2016 at 10:37 am

        I’m not talking about the circle, but having access to a practice green to be able to get as far as 100 yards or as close as 30 yards without people putting on it or chipping around it just isn’t available. I can hit to a 50 yard or 100 yard flag in high grass on our range, which I do, but walking onto a range is usually frowned upon and dangerous with balls coming from any direction.

        • James

          Oct 17, 2016 at 7:40 am

          This sort of practice is for out on the course. When you’re playing a quick nine, or six, or whatever loop at your home course, do this test over a few holes. It’s only one extra shot per hole if you’re playing nine holes.

          Of course, if your home course is under snow/water right now…best of luck :p

  4. Tom

    Oct 15, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    This will make practice fun. Maybe some friendly competition to.

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Instruction

Kelley: How to easily find your ideal impact position

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If you look at any sport, the greats seem to do more with less. Whether it be a swimmer gliding through the water or a quarterback throwing a pass, they make it look it easy and effortless.

In golf, there are a variety of distinct swing patterns to get into a dynamic impact position. I believe in efficiency to find that impact position for effortless power and center contact. Efficiency is defined as “the ability to produce something with a minimum amount of effort.” This can easily apply to the golf swing.

It all starts with the address position. The closer we can set up to an impact position, the less we have to do to get back there. Think of it like throwing a ball. If your body is already in a throwing position, you can simply make the throw without repositioning your body for accuracy. This throwing motion is also similar to an efficient direction of turn in the golf swing.

Once you set up to the ball with your impact angles, if you retain your angles in the backswing, the downswing is just a more leveraged or dynamic version of your backswing. If you can take the club back correctly, the takeaway at hip-high level will mirror that position in the downswing (the desired pre-impact position). In the picture below, the body has become slightly more dynamic in the downswing due to speed, but the body levels have not changed from the takeaway position.

This stays true for halfway back in the backswing and halfway down in the downswing. Note how the body has never had to reposition or “recover” to find impact.

At the top of the swing, you will notice how the body has coiled around its original spine angle. There was no left-side bend or “titling” of the body. All the original address position angles were retained. From this position, the arms can simply return back down with speed, pulling the body through.

The key to an efficient swing lies in the setup. Luckily for players working on their swing, this is the easiest part to work on and control. If you can learn to start in an efficient position, all you need to do is hold the angles you started with. This is a simple and effective way to swing the golf club.

www.kelleygolf.com

Twitter: KKelley_golf

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Wedge Guy: Short iron challenges — and a little insight (hopefully!)

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In my experience, almost all golfers could benefit from better short iron play. The ability to hit it closer to where you are looking with your 8-, 9- and P-irons will do more for your scoring than most anything else you can do. So, why is it that so many golfers just don’t hit the quality shots with these clubs that they do and should expect?

I chose this topic in response to an email from Phillip S., who wrote:

“I’m hitting straight and consistent most of the time but I’ve got a big problem between my 8-iron and everything else below.  I can hit my 8-iron 140-145 fairly consistently every time.  I hit my 9-iron somewhere between 110-135.  My pitching wedge is a mystery….it varies between 85 -125 yards.  No matter how “hard” I swing, I can’t seem to hit my short irons consistent distances.  It’s maddening to hit a great drive followed by a pitching wedge short of the green from 110 yards away.  What am I doing wrong?

Well, Phillip, don’t feel alone, because this is one of the most common golf issues I observe. It seems that the lion’s share of technology applied to golf clubs is focused on the long stuff, with drivers and hybrids getting the press. But I firmly believe that the short irons in nearly all “game improvement” designs are ill-suited for precise distance control, hitting shots on the optimum trajectory or knocking flags down. I’ve written about this a number of times, so a little trip back in Wedge Guy history should be enlightening. But here are some facts of golf club performance as applied to short iron play:

Fact #1. Short irons are much more similar to wedges than your middle irons. But almost all iron sets feature a consistent back design for cosmetic appeal on the store racks. And while that deep cavity and perimeter weight distribution certainly help you hit higher and more consistent shots with your 3- or 4- through 7-iron, as the loft gets in the 40-degree range and higher, that weight distribution is not your friend. Regardless of your skill level, short irons should be designed much more similar to wedges than to your middle irons.

Fact #2. As loft increases, perimeter weighting is less effective. Missed shots off of higher lofted clubs have less directional deviation than off of lower-lofted clubs. This is proven time and again on “Iron Byron” robotic testers.

Fact #3. It takes mass behind the ball to deliver consistent distances. Even on dead center hits, cavity back, thin-face irons do not deliver tack-driver distance control like a blade design. In my post of a couple of years ago, “The Round Club Mindset,” I urged readers to borrow blade-style short irons from a friend or assistant pro and watch the difference in trajectories and shotmaking. Do it! You will be surprised, enlightened, and most likely pleased with the results.

Fact #4. The 4.5-degree difference between irons is part of the problem. The industry has built irons around this formula forever, but every golfer who knows his distances can tell you that the full swing distance gap gets larger as the iron number increases, i.e. your gap between your 8- and 9-iron is probably larger than that between your 4- and 5-iron. Could there be some club tweaking called for here?

Fact #5. Your irons do not have to “match.” If you find through experimentation that you get better results with the blade style short irons, get some and have your whole set re-shafted to match, along with lengths and lie angles. These are the keys to true “matching” anyway.

So, Phillip, without knowing your swing or what brand of irons you play, I’m betting that the solution to your problems lies in these facts. Oh, and one more thing – regardless of short iron design, the harder you swing, the higher and shorter the shot will tend to go. That’s because it becomes harder and harder to stay ahead of the club through impact. Keep short iron shots at 80-85 percent power, lead with your left side and watch everything improve.

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Clement: Easily find your perfect backswing plane with this drill

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When you get on one of these, magic will happen! You can’t come too far inside or outside in the backswing, and you can’t have arms too deep or shallow at the top of the backswing nor can you be too laid off or across the line either! SEAMLESS!!

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