Great golf wedge play is an essential skill to develop for any golfer, and a huge opportunity to lower your scores!
Not only will it enable you to attack the pin on par 5s and short par 4s, giving yourself a much better chance of leaving a makeable putt for birdie, but it will also enable you to play smart when you get in trouble off the tee, laying up to a position where you can still expect to save par.
The Score like a Champion System gives you a simple training system, a complete game improvement plan, that will enable any golfer to quickly develop world-class wedge skills, giving you the confidence to fire at the pin from 120 yards (110m) and in.
The technique that we will teach you here is exactly the same technique used by many of the world’s greatest wedge players, and yet the Score like a Champion System makes it possible for any golfer to master it.
Most golfers would be intimidated by a 73 yard shot over water to a tight pin, the smart play for them would be to just aim for the centre of the green and hope to escape with a par. With the Score like a Champion System, however, you’ll soon be looking forward to these shots, excited by the prospect of going on the offensive, attacking the pin with a great chance of making a birdie.
Why Does Wedge Play Really Matter?
The importance of great wedge play is underestimated by most golfers. If your average proximity to the hole on these shots improves from 30 feet to 20 feet, a massive 33% improvement, your chances of making the putt don’t dramatically improve. Even if you’re a very good putter, you’ll still almost always 2-putt from 20 feet, as much as you will from 30 feet, there’s very little difference – the world’s best will only make about 5-6% of putts from this range.
So how does being a better wedge player improve your scores?
The difference to your scores given by great wedge play comes from two areas. Firstly, you’ll hit a lot more greens and stay away from trouble. An average wedge player may be able to hit a shot directly at the flag, but if it drops short and plugs in a bunker, or if it sails 20 feet past and finishes in deep rough behind the green, then it’s still a terrible shot, and will probably result in a higher score. And that’s average, a poor wedge shot might duff it into serious trouble, or just leave yourself another wedge shot – definitely a lost opportunity!
Secondly, although your average proximity may not improve your scores directly, great wedge play will give you a far higher percentage of great shots, hit to within 6 feet and giving you an excellent chance of making the putt. If you are a great wedge player then this will probably happen several times per round, and that will be reflected in your scores.
So, your scores will improve considerably, both because you waste less shots with poor play, and because you give yourself significantly more up-and-down opportunities.
The Goals of the Score like a Champion System
The goals of this system are to give you the skills to strike the ball consistently well, making solid contact and eliminating bad misses, while developing very accurate distance control so that you can stop the ball close to the pin and leave yourself more makeable putts.
Most golfers can hit the ball reasonably straight with a wedge in their hands. In the “scoring zone” within 120 yards of the flag, the difference between “good” and “great” is all about distance control – about touch.
The Score like a Champion System teaches you how to hit shots with control over both spin and trajectory, and that will give you accurate and consistent control over distance. You will also develop your feel, your sense of how the ball will react for a given shot.
When to Play Wedge Shots
We define wedge play as shots played from about 35 to 120 yards (30 to 110m) from the pin. The exact distance that you hit these shots will vary depending on your strength and skill level.
The outer limit, typically 100 to 135 yards, is the distance you normally carry the ball with a well struck pitching wedge, when making a full swing.
The inner limit, about 35 to 40 yards, is where you would normally start to use the pitching & chipping technique described in the Golf Loopy Pitch & Chip like a Champion series.
The wedge shot we teach is a low, high spinning shot that will “one hop and stop” near the pin. It’s similar to a mini full swing, but with more control and finesse. This not only looks fantastic, as the ball sizzles to a stop by the pin, it’s also the most effective way to hit the ball close without being at the mercy of the vagaries of the wind or the contours of the course.
The pitch & chip shot described in the Pitch & Chip like a Champion series is a higher launching, lower spinning, softer landing shot that will roll out towards the hole like a putt.
Using the two systems will give you a game improvement plan that enables you to master both of these shots. You will be able to choose and control the ball flight and spin required for any given shot around the green, using your imagination and touch to make great golf shots, rather than getting tied up with swing thoughts.
A Better Strategy
Many golfers, including pros, tell us that they’d rather lay up to a full swing distance, that they’re better with a full 9 iron than with a partial wedge, but the evidence (based on PGA Tour ShotLink data) doesn’t bear this out. From 140 yards, the best Tour players average about 20′ proximity to the hole, from 60 yards that drops to less than 10′, and being that 10′ closer makes a massive difference to the chances of holing the putt!
There are circumstances where you may want to leave yourself a little further from the hole for your approach shot. You may want to avoid any risk of bringing hazards into play, or to leave yourself a more level stance or a better angle into the flag. You may also want to have a longer approach shot so that you can generate more spin, perhaps to attack a tight pin on a firm green, or when playing downwind.
As a general rule, however, you will score lower if you are able to attack the pin from the fairway as close to the green as possible. Even golfers who consider themselves poor wedge players will, on average, leave the ball closer to the hole with a shorter shot from the fairway.
With the Score like a Champion System, you will quickly develop the skills and confidence to attack more pins, playing consistently great wedge shots, leaving yourself easy putts and shooting lower scores!
Playing by Feel
Some players complain that they don’t need a “system” to help them, that they are a “feel player”. These are the people who have some skills but they either don’t know how to practise, or they don’t want to put in the effort required to be great. They may hit the occasional great shot that will help them to feel good about their game, but they will struggle to improve. We’re all “feel players”, but to improve we need a plan that enables us to refine these feels and develop the touch required to execute shots at the highest level.
Feel is a skill that must be developed. It will come more quickly, and be more finely tuned, with intelligent practice. That’s what the Score like a Champion System is all about – it’s a simple feel-based game improvement plan suitable for any golfer.
By following the Score like a Champion System, you will learn to practise intelligently, and you can’t help but improve your touch and feel.
After a short time, your wedges will become some of your most important and exciting weapons out on the course – you’ll start to think offensively, rather than defensively, when you have a wedge in your hand, you’ll be focussed on attacking pins to make birdies rather than just hoping to escape with a par.
We’ve never met a golfer who’s scores didn’t improve dramatically by following the Score like a Champion System.
Let’s get started by describing the basic wedge play technique, a technique that has been proven by many of the world’s greatest short game players, in Golf Wedge Play 101 – Technique.