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Tips to dial in short iron and wedge distances?

 robdalky ·  
robdalkyrobdalky Members  211WRX Points: 89Posts: 211 Fairways
Joined:  in Instruction & Academy #1

I've had a heck of a time with respect to distance control on short irons and wedges. I had gotten some new irons and wedges at the end of last year and have had them dialed IN with respect to distances (granted these were dialed in from September to about May). I have lately noted that I have been flying greens seemingly left and right on shorter approach shots. I don't know if this is due to the heat, lies, wind, minor swing changes that have changed my strike, or what. (I play a MP20 blade, so it's not a speedfoam phenomenon...) I have found myself with zero confidence inside about 140 yards about how far I'm going to hit the ball, where previously I was pin high almost every single time. And I'm virtually always long now.

I know there are a lot of new launch monitors out there - is this a thing I should consider? Never wanted to drop the cash on one of those, but if it'll solve this issue it might be worth it. Is that even helpful with range balls on a range that isn't perfectly flat? Give me some tips, WRX... how do you dial it in?

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  • llewol007llewol007 4KidsGolfer San Jose, CaClubWRX  3816WRX Points: 254Handicap: 4.1Posts: 3,816 ClubWRX
    Joined:  #2

    No need to invest in a launch monitor. You my friend need a practice round on the golf course. It worked wonders for my short game as opposed to say hitting shots at the driving range. Head out to your local golf course when the crowds have died down and the course i.e. marshals or ambassadors arent around and play 9 holes. Main goal here is to play multiple balls per hole. I would typically hit a Driver off the tee or whatever I am trying to practice for the hole. When I get to my second shot, typically its inside of 150 or so, I would practice a couple of shots from varying distances. After say hitting my ball in with an 8 iron for example from 150 in, I would walk to 145 and hit a 9 iron and see what my result is based on yardage. If I am long, I would drop another ball and make an adjustment whether hitting a 3 quarter 9 iron or maybe go to a full wedge. Whatever it maybe to make sure I have a game plan at that yardage. So Im finding that Im hitting my 9 iron 145 with the current irons I am playing. Next I would hit a 9 iron shot with my hands at two positions. One at my ear, then hit a shot with my hands right at shoulder level. For me, I have established being able to hit full yardage, 3/4 and a little more than half swing. So with my 9 iron, I can hit anywhere between 145 all the way up to about 125 with my half swing 9 iron that comes at a lower trajectory versus my full swing Pitch wedge. So when I do this on every hole. I play about 3 holes from the fairway. Mind you, Im not sitting there in the middle of the fairway taking my time. Its a quick process that doesnt slow me down or makes me get in the way of players behind me if there are any. Next hole I repeat the same thing. I have 125 yards in, I play my half swing 9 iron to get me a low shot into the green, then I play a full Pitch wedge which gets me 125 yards at a higher trajectory. So same thing, I drop another ball and try to establish my 3 shots from 125 yards in. So every hole, I have a goal in mind. I might have 150 yards in but instead pick up my ball and walk till Im 100 yards in a work on my gap wedge. I typically play two wedges and play my gap from 110 all the way up to about 85 yards which is where my 58 wedge would coesme to into play. When I get inside 100 yards, . I take my 50 degree wedge and again play a 3/4 shot which for me is with my hands at my ears and see what yardage I get. Usually with that I hit about 100 yards. Then I would drop another ball and hit a shot with my hands stopping shoulder high. Sure enough, it lands short of the green at about 90 yards in. So going forward, I established a full 50 for me is 110 yards, hands at my ear is 100 and at shoulder high, it is right at 90 yards. You have to You gotta get out there and establish your yardages from 150 yards in or even 140 yards in. Best thing that will help you in my opinion. Give it a try. Hope that helps.

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  • PriceydPriceyd Members  811WRX Points: 79Handicap: 12Posts: 811 Golden Tee
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    Is there a range near you that has trackman? my local range has trackman range which has been huge for me. I spent some time last week practicing a 9 o clock swing with all my wedges and 9 iron and then looked at my distances. all were really close i hit 5 shots with each club and then deleted the worst one or the abnormal one. Next time i go ill try again with a 3/4 swing say 11 o clock. my pw is perfect 100, 9 iron 110, sw 75 gap 85 etc.

    If dont have access to this i would do the same on the course, go to 100 yards and hit 5-6 balls and work out a rough average, then you have a go to shot for that distance,. more you play will gain more knowledge and might need to change distances etc but has helped me alot the last couple of weeks in the past i would even hit my 7 from 130 was conssitent ball flight and would stop pretty quick on the green.

  • xmanhockey7xmanhockey7 Members  435WRX Points: 133Posts: 435 Greens
    Joined:  edited Aug 1, 2020 11:22pm #4

    Here’s what I do, but I do have access to a foresight. I take each club and hit 20 shots. The shortest 5 are eliminated. I find the AVERAGE for the other 15 and that’s my distance for each club. I expect to hit some shots long and some shots short. The difference between my longest and shortest of the 15 is probably 10ish yards. Keep in mind you’re effectively using a shotgun, not a rifle.

    Post edited by xmanhockey7 on
  • SNIPERBBBSNIPERBBB Hit Ball Hard SE OhioMembers  3539WRX Points: 942Handicap: 2.9Posts: 3,539 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #5

    Best thing for me was using the private range at our course, which is a bring your own ball range. Bring your gamer balls and a rangefinder/GPS. Hit 10 balls, shag em and get distance readings.

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  • MonteScheinblumMonteScheinblum Rebellion Golf Southern CaliforniaMembers  19101WRX Points: 1,773Posts: 19,101 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #6

    The vast majority of golfers above 2-3 handicap that have trouble dialing in wedges, make too big of a swing and try to hit them too far. I see guys with 105 mph driver speed hitting PW from 135-140. Those are my yardages and I’m 120 plus.

    The closer you get to 100% with wedges, the harder spin and trajectory control become. Which makes distance control even harder.

  • BiggiE427BiggiE427 Members  88WRX Points: 32Posts: 88 Fairways
    Joined:  #7

    You know I’ve had a problem with this. Wanting to hit my clubs as far as possible. Maybe it’s an ego thing, although I’ve discovered lower scores do more than long yards.


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  • indianagolf2indianagolf2 Members  204WRX Points: 39Posts: 204 Fairways
    Joined:  #8

    What state are you located in

  • hagimihalehagimihale Members  275WRX Points: 159Posts: 275 Greens
    Joined:  #9

    As others have noted, you need to figure out your average distance with your scoring irons (8i to LW).

    I spent time on both full and 3/4 swings with all of these clubs. Something simple and repeatable. The object is NOT to see how far you can hit that club, but to see how far it does with your default swing.

    What you'll probably find (as @llewol007 suggested above) is that you have overlap at some distances. This will give you several options into a given green.

    My PW carries 125, but I can also get there with a 3/4 swing of a 9i. My 54* goes 90yds, but so does a 3/4 swing with my 50*.

    I've found those 3/4 swings go pretty straight, and since I'm not trying to jump on the ball to get max distance, the carry distance is pretty reliable.

    You can start this process on the range, going after different targets. But eventually you'll need to do so on the course with your balls (not range balls) to be sure of the carry distance.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!


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  • mgoblue83mgoblue83 Members  409WRX Points: 207Handicap: 2Posts: 409 Greens
    Joined:  edited Aug 2, 2020 3:16am #10

    Just find a 100 yd flag at your local range and hit entire buckets of 8 irons with the goal of landing on the flag. Work on different trajectories like high soft shots, low punch shots, fades and draws but stay with the 8 iron and maximum distance 100 yds.

    It's a really fun and efficient way to practice because you will develop great tempo and contact that applies to every club.

    If you stick with it you will probably start playing partial shots with everything up to your 5 or 6 iron and your accuracy and distance control will greatly improve.

    For reference I swing driver 118ish and can carry my 40 degree 8 iron 165 yds but I still practice 100 yd 8 iron shots every time I'm at the range.

  • ChrisNHChrisNH 3 putts strictly prohibited... Members  353WRX Points: 43Handicap: 6Posts: 353 Greens
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    Agree on the partial shot practice. I find when I'm having issues with distance control it's because I get a bit off plane and can only hit full bore shots well. When I'm on plane I can hit partial shots with ease and my overall distance control is SO much better.

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  • slordslord Members  6WRX Points: 6Posts: 6 Starters
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    launch monitor and matching swing speed were the most useful for me. 30/50/70 shots are now as good as stock.

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  • phillyspecialphillyspecial Members  513WRX Points: 110Posts: 513 Golden Tee
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    I became a good wedge player once I made it a rule that I never hit my 50/55/60 w 100% speed/intent. I used a launch monitor to figure out each wedge distance at what feels like knee/waist/chest swings. Especially in a club match when pressure is on, I just refer to my chart when I’m <110 yards for what shot to hit.

  • b.heltsb.helts Members  3291WRX Points: 797Posts: 3,291 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #14

    You can’t control distance well with short clubs until you can control trajectory.

    hit it lower.

    no, lower than that.

  • nitramnitram WestOK, on the South Canadian Riviera Members  5913WRX Points: 526Handicap: -.6Posts: 5,913 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #15

    You know, we've all heard the old saying of never say never. Well, NEVER hit your Lob, Sand, or Gap wedge 100%. Rarely do good thing come from it.

    If you really want to dial in the 7-iron to Lob wedge, grab your shagger, laser, and something for a target (an old ball cap or your shag bag will work). Go to an old field that's been mowed in the past week and go to work. The first thing to establish is what is a good yardage for you with each club. This means what is your sweet spot swing with each club and find out what that yardage is by setting your target at say 100 yards & hitting 30 balls each with all of your clubs with your most "comfortable" swing and write it down.

    Now as Pelz espoused, you have at least 3 swing lengths (7:30, 9:00, & 10:30) and I contend you also have at least 3 swing tempos to go with those (slow, medium, and fast). So there are at least 9 combinations with each club that you can use. Again, hit 30 balls with each clock position and tempo and write it down.

    Please understand this doesn't happen overnight and in fact will take time to develop and comprehend. And, you will probably be overwhelmed with information. But the time you take to document your results as specified will honestly tell you what you need to hit and should leave you with nothing more than a 5-7 yard gap from 30 to 140. And you and I both know you'll make that putt more often than you won't.

    Put in the work and it will pay you at least X 2.

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  • llewol007llewol007 4KidsGolfer San Jose, CaClubWRX  3816WRX Points: 254Handicap: 4.1Posts: 3,816 ClubWRX
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    Yup, gotta connect it on the golf course. I’ve never been one for hitting shot after shot after shot at a flag. It does do wonders to have a couple of options on a shot. I remembered a Graham Mcdowell Video where he always has a high soft shot into the green and a low bump and run shot into the green. That’s why I love practicing on the golf course. Put the time into it and it pays dividends for sure!!!

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  • PetethreeputPetethreeput Members  1674WRX Points: 419Handicap: 1.5Posts: 1,674 Platinum Tees
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    I read the Pelz clock method, and went to the practice area with the goal to have all 4 swing lengths. I also picked out flag distances and tried to hit those swing lengths those distances. I don't remember when Monty said, "Manipulating your hands is a disaster waiting to happen." But, I agree. Also, I found the "7:30" was too short for me and I began stabbing at the ball. So I changed up my distance dialing program and I believe it has helped for me.

    I don't pick a flag, nor do I pick a desired distance. I pick a comfortable "easy" swing, a comfortable 3/4 swing, and then the full swing (which I try to not use with wedges). I will then hit 10 balls with a wedge, ignore the outliers, stand in the middle of the cluster and range find back to my bag. That's my distance. I do have a target in the distance I aim at, but I don't try to hit it there, I just take natural easy swings which I can then replicate on the course... I hope. If I try to manufacture a swing to hit my 3/4 56* 105 yards, then I am not getting a true distance reading, I am getting a 10 swing trial and error to hit it that far.



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