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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Justin Rose's Wedge Tips

Since Justin won the gold medal just a few days back, this new instructional post at Golf Digest seems amazingly appropriate. Here are Justin Rose's keys to improving your wedge game.

Justin's five ball positions

Justin's first tip is to skip the lob wedge and use a 56° wedge. If you don't have a 56, just use something less than a 60° lob wedge. Justin says you'll make better contact.

You'll want to go check out the article because this one has lots of helpful photos, but the ones above and below really stood out to me. Those five golf balls show the five positions he uses for his shots. As the ball moves farther back in your stance, the ball will fly lower and roll farther.

Note also that Justin keeps the shaft pointed at the center of your body. The photos below show the club relative to the front and back ball positions. It appears that he defines "the center of your body" in terms of his trailing hand, as you can see in the photos below. He says the butt of the club should never lean forward or backward of that point.

So far, all of this is entirely different from what Phil Mickelson would tell you. Phil uses his lob wedge for almost everything, says you should play the ball forward or back, never in the middle of your stance, and prefers to keep the shaft leaning forward until after the ball is struck (he calls it "hinge and hold"). Is one way better than the other?

In a word, NO. Each man has a system that works, and it works because he uses the entire system. So DON'T mix Justin's and Phil's advice. If you want to do it Phil's way, grab a copy of Phil's short game book and do what he says -- ALL OF IT. And if you want to copy Justin's way, do what Justin says -- ALL OF IT. Got it? Good.

The article has more advice from Justin concerning how to control your backswing length, which is how he controls the length of the shot (basically the same way I do in my Accurate Iron Play book), rather than by changing how hard he swings. You'll want to read that while you're looking at the photos because he shows how he measures the length of his backswing. Just look for the blue dots on the photos.

Justin's method is pretty simple and, as you may have noticed during the Olympic Men's Golf, pretty dependable as well. You could do a lot worse than copying his technique


  1. Good article. Just one question. In the top picture with the five balls, is the center ball (ball number three) in the center of his stance, or just slightly forward of center?


    1. It looks to me like the center ball is just inside his lead heel. But I guess that makes sense. If his stance is slightly open and his weight is slightly more on his lead side -- that's a pretty standard setup -- then "the center of your body," which I would think is a vertical line thru your belly button, would be at about the same spot.