You hit a perfect drive right down the middle of the fairway of the first hole. You’ve got a great look at the pin, which is cut in the middle of green. There’s a bunker at the front, but it’s no big deal because you’ve got a pitching wedge in your hand. This is the best start you’ve had on the first hole, and you are telling yourself that today is going to be your day.
You pull out your wedge and make a practice swing. You take your set up. Your eyes lock on to the pin. You swing back, getting all the way to the top of the swing. You start your downswing, then make contact. But, to your dismay, you strike the ground first. The ball doesn’t even make it to the front bunker. You chunk your next shot into the bunker and take two to get out. Two putts later and you start with a triple-bogey on the opening hole.
This is all too common and the culprit was the second shot. If only that ball was struck solid and landed on the green. The day starts with a par and the vibe of the day would be completely different.
So, why is this story all too common? The fat shot from a great position is frustrating and you know that after a couple of chunks, there’s a thin shot waiting in the wings.
What is to blame for these contact issues that ruin holes and complete rounds of golf? Yes, it’s the dreaded sway! That’s where the “wedge the wedge” drill comes into play.
You’ll need one of your wedges (let’s say 56°). You are going to wedge this under your lead heel. You’ll need a second club to hit with. This can be any one of your irons.
How it’s done
- Take your set up to the ball.
2. Wedge the wedge under you lead heel.
3. Swing to the top of your swing. If you sway, too much of your weight will move to the trail foot. This will cause the lead heel to come off the ground and will allow the wedge to fall to the ground.
Your job is to keep enough pressure on the lead foot so that the wedge doesn’t fall, while still loading up on the backfoot during the backswing. Eliminate the sway and you’ll turn the story from the beginning into the hot start you were looking for!
Bonus Tip: Contact Feedback Hack
Center contact affects both distance and direction. Do you know what your tendencies are? A common practice amongst golf instructors is to use athletes foot spray on the club. Start by spraying your driver with a light coating. Once you make contact, you’ll notice the impression of the ball in the spray. A damp cloth will wipe the spray off and it does not affect your driver at all. Remember, you can only do this during practice. You’ll find additional drills for contact improvement on my Instagram and Twitter (@mikeburygolf).
Mike Bury is the Director of Instruction at Mike Bury Golf and has been named to Golf Digest’s “Best Young Teachers in America” list for the last four years. To find out more, log on to www.mikebury.com