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Friday, March 22, 2019

Dustin Johnson on Practicing Wedges (Video)

I listened to DJ describe the logic behind his wedge practice and thought, "Hey, maybe this has some other applications for weekend golfers..."

The biggest surprise for me was that DJ says he does most of his practice with just one wedge. Although in this video he says he spends a half-hour each day practicing his wedges (plural), around the :40 second mark he says that it makes no difference what kind of shot he's playing or where he's playing it, "I use the same wedge" (singular).

DJ certainly wouldn't be the only player to do this. Phil Mickelson is another top player who uses just one wedge for most of his shots. And the logic makes sense: It's easier to learn how a single wedge behaves under various conditions than it is to remember the variations between different wedges.

And clearly, when the game is on the line, as long as that wedge will let him play the shot he needs, that's the wedge he's going to go to -- the wedge he has the most confidence in. He'll practice them all, for sure, but when the game is on the line, he goes with Old Reliable.

Weekend players aren't any different. And that's why, when I heard this video, I found myself wondering why that "go-to" club had to be a wedge...

Look, DJ is so long that he's just going to have wedges into a lot of holes. But for those of us who hit the ball like mere mortals, it's more likely that club will be a 9-iron, an 8-iron, maybe even a 5-hybrid.

So why can't we use the same strategy, but with a longer club?

The logic is simple. What club do you most frequently need for your approach shots to the green? Perhaps a better question would be "what club would cover your most frequent approach shots to the green?"

Here's an example:

If you play a lot 7-, 8- and 9-irons when you shoot for the green, choose the 7-iron. Then start experimenting with various length swings, just like you would with a wedge. How far do you hit a full 7-iron, a three-quarter 7-iron and a half 7-iron? Can you hit those partial 7-irons for the 8- and 9-iron approach shots? What can you do with your 7-iron from the fairway bunkers? How about low shots under tree branches?

I'm not saying that you never use the other clubs in your bag. But if you can learn to play that 7-iron with the same confidence that DJ plays his wedge, you're going to have a serious weapon for attacking the course and lowering your scores.

It's just a thought I had. But who says that wedges are the only scoring clubs in a player's bag?

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