Nathan Morris of GolfTEC shows you how
Now that it is the middle of the summer, I like to shift my students’ focus away from full swings. Full swing changes should be done in the winter and spring so you can enjoy your golf season. That is why the majority of my lessons in the summer are short game and putting. One of the biggest issues is that people overdo some of the basic fundamentals of chipping to a point where they become unusable.
The first overdone fundamental is forward-pressing the wedge shaft. You might be doing this if you take small divots with your chip shots or have ever had the dreaded double-hit wedge.
Most golfers believe that pressing or leaning the shaft towards the target helps them to stop hitting the ground first and to make better contact with the ball. While this is true, you can have too much of a good thing.
Every wedge has a bounce angle that goes along with the loft angle. This is an angle on the bottom of the club from the trailing edge to the leading edge relative to the ground. Depending on the wedge, this is usually between 4 and 16 degrees. This angle is very important because it keeps the leading edge from digging in.
When you lean the shaft forward you decrease the bounce angle degree for degree. When you lean your lob wedge forward past your leg, you are now playing with negative bounce.
“Negative bounce” means the leading edge is touching the ground and the trailing edge isn’t. This makes it easy to get the wedge stuck in the ground, and if you don't make perfect contact, the wedge won’t glide along the ground and you will run the risk of the dreaded double-chip.
Leaning the wedge forward a little bit, so that the grip points just a little in front of your belt buckle helps you hit the ball first, but allows you to still use the bounce to GLIDE along the ground and not dig in.
To figure out exactly what this angle should be, lean the wedge forward and take some practice swings. If the leading edge sticks in the ground and you dig up some turf with your chipping swing, you have too much forward lean. Take away the shaft lean a little at a time until you can make a thud on the ground without digging anything up. That’s when you are doing it correctly. Now you are hitting the trailing edge of the wedge.
This is incredibly useful because you now don't have to be perfect with where you hit the ground. You can actually hit an inch or so behind the ball and still hit a great shot. This is how your wedge was designed to work.
Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments or stop by GolfTEC Denver Tech Center.
Nathan has been with GolfTEC since 2007 and has taught over 10,000 lessons. He has also given over 450 custom club fittings. Nathan was named one of Golf Digest's best teachers in Colorado in 2011 as well as a Golf Digest Top100 club fitter twice. In 2014 Nathan was Colorado Avid Golfer’s Reader’s Choice Best Instructor.