Whilst maximising club head speed and increasing distance off the tee is important and certainly seems to get the most attention these days, let’s not neglect those all important distance wedges. These shots are key to taking advantage of those short Par 4’s and Par 5’s. By improving our proximity to the hole from shots between 40-120 yards we can give ourselves more opportunities to make solid pars and potential birdies!
A ‘Distance Wedge’ is an approach shot from between 40-120 yards. There is a premium on distance control for these shots and the technique used by the best players in the world is based around creating a low controlled ball flight with optimum spin control.
Distance Wedge Trackman Data
When we look at the Trackman data and technique used by some of the most accurate wedge players in the world we see they share many of the same characteristics when executing a distance wedge shot. In the picture below you’ll see some of the numbers we see the best wedge players produce and some benchmarks I’m looking for when helping players take the wedge game to the next level.
Tour Player Ball Flight Characteristics. What does the data tell us?
Low ball flight
We often see them flight their wedges very low. This enables them to keep the ball down out of any wind that could potentially influence the ball flight. The lower flight also gives them more control to land it the required distance. The launch angle we see from their Trackman data is normally around a 30 degree vertical launch angle or lower. This is achieved by creating a low Dynamic Loft. Dynamic Loft is the amount of loft presented at impact. The above data was created by a shot I hit with a 56 degree sand wedge. The loft at impact however you can see was 36.7 degrees. This means I de-lofted my wedge by 19.3 degrees. This creates that low launching ball flight we’re looking for.
Once their ball lands on their intended distance they can stop it within a few feet. This is achieved by having a spin rate of around 8000 rpm. This high spin isn’t all about technique it must be noted. Having a clean wedge and a premium ball is paramount to create that one bounce and stop shot. Assessing the lie is also an area that must not be ignored. Any time grass, moisture or dirt gets in between the club and ball contact, spin rate will be decreased dramatically. The numbers above were produced from a clean lie in the fairway, a must for executing this shot.
The strike location also contributes to that high spin number. By creating a shallow Attack Angle (-2.2 Deg) I can strike the ball slightly lower near the bottom grooves. This creates a vertical gearing effect and further enables that low launching, high spinning distance wedge. Check out my previous article HERE which goes into depth about the ‘Gearing Effect’.
How to hit the low flighted high spinning distance wedge.
In the two videos below I’ll talk you through all the necessary keys to work on to practice this shot and add it to your game. We will also look at one of the worlds best players, Justin Rose conveying the characteristics we’ve covered! He’s able to demonstrate it just slightly better than me!
Location- Marbella Golf and Country Club-
Tour Player Analysis
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