By Paul Myers
Most of the shots you hit with your sand wedge will probably be something less than full shots – like hitting from the greenside bunker or playing a chip shot from the rough. However, there are times when you are going to want to hit a full shot with a sand wedge, such as when your ball is positioned perfectly in the fairway only a short distance from the green. In order to convert on these chances and turn them into short birdie putts, it is important that you understand how far you can hit your sand wedge with a normal swing.
Don’t Worry About the Total Distance
It doesn’t much matter how far you are able to hit the sand wedge – only that you know what you sand wedge distance is. Only hit it 70 yards? Perfect! Smash it over 110 yards? That works too. The distance simply needs to be repeatable time after time. Complicating the matter slightly is the fact that a club called a ‘sand wedge’ can vary in loft as much as 4 degrees or more. Therefore, spend some time working with your own clubs to make sure you know how far your personal wedge goes specifically. If you carry multiple wedges in your bag, make sure to have an accurate number for all of them too.
Valuable for Pitching the Ball As Well
A potentially tricky thing about using your sand wedge successfully to get the ball close to the hole is you often aren’t always going to be making a full swing. Sometimes, you will be closer to the green than your max yardage, and will need to make some kind of altered swing to handle the distance successfully. Many of these shots fall under the category of ‘pitch’ shots, and your sand wedge is often the best club for the job in this case. Using your sand wedge to conquer pitch shots can be a good idea because the loft of the club can help you get over any trouble between you and the hole (water, bunkers, etc.), while also putting spin on the ball that can help to stop it quickly when it lands.
The sand wedge isn’t designed to be a pure distance club, and it never will be. The idea when you are hitting a wedge is to get the ball as close to the hole as possible – not to hit it as far as possible. However, it is highly important that you are able to control the distance of your sand wedge swings throughout any round that you play. Figure out a specific yardage that you are comfortable hitting your sand wedge and then base the rest of your shots around that number.
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