I get this question all the time: “How can I have better control of my distances with my wedges?”
Far too often, I see students lose unnecessary strokes around the greens from not being able to control their distances with their wedges and their ball either ending up short, where they have to chip again, or long in the water, costing them penalty strokes.
There are many ways to practice distance control. One of my favorite ways is by thinking of having a clock around you and focusing on your length of swing back and through. When you do this, focus on where your hands stop; that is the time and where your hands end up.
I like students to have three yardages with each wedge besides their full-swing yardage. That way on the course, the majority of the time they will have a swing to fit the yardage they are at. When you practice, take out all of your wedges and get a yardage for your full swing, 10-2, 9-3 and 8-4 swing and write down those yardages, so when you go on the course you have a go-to swing for those in-between awkward yardages. I have my students write this on a piece of paper and keep it in their golf bag or on a bag tag, and hang it on their bag until they memorize the yardages.
Fold a long towel like a hot dog and place it under your armpits, hit shots keeping the towel under your armpits with the different clock swings minus the full swing. This will help your arms and body stay connected through your half swing shots.
Some factors amateurs don’t always think about when it comes to distance control, but should, is the tempo of their backswing and follow-through. Often, I see students have a slow tempo on their backswing and pick up a lot of speed on their follow-through. This would be okay on a full swing when you want to maximize distance. But for wedges and distance control, having an uneven tempo makes it hard to be consistent with your yardages.
Next time you hit your wedges, focus on having the same tempo on your backswing and follow-through to help you have more consistent solid shots and yardages.