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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Martin Hall on Drawing and Fading Wedges

I heard this on School of Golf Wednesday night and it was so informative that I wanted to pass it on.

Martin Hall said that only a lefty could hit the hooked wedge shot that won Bubba Watson the 2012 Masters. (Bear in mind that the shot would have been a slice for a righthander.) And in the explanation he gave a tip for fading a wedge shot.

Bubba hitting hooked wedge in 2012 Masters

Since I want to write this for both lefties and righties, let me define hooks and slices this way:
  • A hook is a shot that curves around you.
  • A slice is a shot that curves away from you.
Simply put, when you hook a wedge you close the clubface (also called 'hooding' the clubface) and the ball comes off the wedge at a low angle.The more you close it down, the lower the angle.

But when you try to slice the wedge, you open the clubface and it sends the ball almost straight up in the air. And the more you open the face, the straighter up the ball goes. It creates plenty of sidespin but no curve.

In other words, you can't aim the face far enough away from you to create a curved ball flight. Martin demonstrated with a rod attached to the face to show where it was aimed. It makes perfect sense if you think about it... but it also raises a question:
How do you make a wedge shot curve away from you when you need to?
Martin's solution was simple but it's probably not your first instinct. If you need to make a slice shape to your shot, take a longer club -- Martin suggests a 7- or 6-iron -- move the ball slightly back in your stance and make a shorter swing. This brings the ball's flight angle down low enough to mimic that of a hooked wedge, and then you can get the ball to slice.

So here's the rule of thumb: Hook a full wedge but slice a chipped 7-iron. Very simple to remember and to do, but probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you're stymied behind that tree.