VIDEO GOLF INSTRUCTION: Dave Pelz on Controlling the Distance of Wedge Shots

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It has been well documented that more than half of all golf shots are struck within 100 yards of the hole. If you want to play better golf and shoot lower scores, practice your short game. This is a smart improvement strategy.

In the above video, short-game guru Dave Pelz introduces a pretty simple method for controlling the distance of your wedge shots. But first he describes a common problem.

“Right now, if you’re like most golfers,” Pelz says, “you take a normal backswing with almost every wedge you hit from any distance, and then you decelerate into impact to keep from hitting it too far. This gets you behind the ball. It causes all kinds of troubles. It’s a bad way to hit a wedge.”

Working with tour pros, Pelz found a better way to control wedge distance. It’s called the clock system. “You control the length your shot goes by the length of your back swing,” he says.

Pelz demonstrates a 100-yard wedge shot using his normal full swing. Then he takes a shorter backswing, to what he calls 7:30 on a clock.

“Turns out [the]7:30 swing goes half as far as the power swing with every club I’m hitting. If it’s a 100-yard wedge, it goes 50 yards,” he says.

Pelz hits another shot with a 9:00 swing. “I call it a three-quarters swing because it goes three-quarters of a full-swing distance. That’s a 75-yard swing.”

Pelz also demonstrates a 10:30 backswing that hits the ball 90 percent of his full-swing distance, or 90 yards. “I can hit that 90 yards, plus or minus a yard, every time.”

The key to this method is to sync your wedge distances with your various backswings. The clock system is one way to think about your backswings. If you’re like me, you can also think of it this way: full swing, three-quarters swing, half swing. With either approach, you can develop three swings that will produce three repeatable distances.

“If I have three swings and four wedges,” Pelz says, “I’ve got 12 known distances inside 100 yards. And I can reproduce them pretty easily, round after round after round. It makes the short game much easier if you will learn to control the distance of your wedge shots by your backswing.”

Dave Pelz has coached major champions such as Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Payne Stewart, Lee Janzen and Tom Kite. He is the author of Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible, a national bestseller.

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Neil Sagebiel

Neil Sagebiel is a golf writer and author of two golf books published by St. Martin's Press, THE LONGEST SHOT and DRAW IN THE DUNES. He lives in Floyd, Virginia.
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