Inside 100 Yards

There are plenty of articles touting how most golf is played from inside 100 yards. It is more like inside 20 yards.  Think about it most putts and chips take place from inside 20 yards.  Many of my students want to improve their 50 yard wedge shots.  I simply tell them to eliminate that shot and not to waste time practicing that shot for these reasons:

Pin locations
Most American golf courses have well protected greens, which are usually elevated and sometimes surrounded by water and bunkers.  This course set up requires a shot that comes in with more loft and spin as opposed to a links style course where you have the option to bump and run the ball to the green.  If you choose to hit a shot from 25-65 yards away, you can’t necessarily get the ball to fly high enough and more importantly have enough spin to stop it with control.

Bad swing mechanics
A shot from 25-65 yards is less than a full swing, you may find your swing out of position to hit a good shot.  If you have a mistake that occurs early in your swing (gets off plane), then you will have to make a correction somewhere later in your swing, in order to get the club in a better position.  When you make a much shorter swing you don’t have time to make that correction.  The miss could be as bad as a five foot chunk, top or bladed shot.  The only option is to make a long enough swing to correct your mistake, but now you have a backswing that will hit the ball too far and you will wind up decelerating.  That can lead to problems in itself and less spin.

What is you favorite club or the distance you feel most comfortable with?  Is it inside the magic 25-65 yards?  If so, play your game and have fun.  However, if you are like most people you prefer a full swing with a 9 iron or wedge.  Most people don’t play to their strengths and try to lay up to their favorite club distance.  The old saying about close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades applies here, too.  Why wouldn’t you try to get close to your favorite club?  You already have confidence with it since it is your favorite club, it will be a full swing and it is a shot you have practiced.

Next time you are watching a tournament, I challenge you to find a player on the PGA Tour facing a shot from 25-65 yards. They choose not to have this shot for the reasons I have addressed here.  You should, too. Lay back to your favorite yardage for a full swing and you will find yourself hitting it closer to the pin more often.