Golf Digest posted instructions Thursday on how to hit the half wedge, right after Martin Kaymer used it to hit the shot pictured below and make eagle.
Here's the key: You don't want to hit the ball hard. Instead, you want to hit the ball as easily as you can and still get the ball to the hole, because hard strikes create more spin and more height on the shot. That's a killer in the wind! The half wedge is a low shot that flies low, hops once and rolls slowly toward the hole.
Instructor Kevin Meeks says you take a less-lofted wedge -- 54° is a popular choice -- play the ball just back of center, and sweep it gently off the ground. Meeks advises using your body to control this motion rather than your arms, because you can control the speed of your swing better that way.
This shot probably seems to contradict common sense. We're all taught that you need speed to create enough spin to stop the ball, but that's not entirely correct. You need clean contact to create spin, and a short gentle swing that makes solid contact will get the job done.
The half wedge is a good shot to add to your arsenal. As Martin Kaymer demonstrated in that windy first round at Augusta, you don't need the speed of a Dustin Johnson to make that golf ball behave.