GOLF TIPS: Learning distance control with your wedges
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GOLF TIPS: Learning distance control with your wedges

I moved to Austin, Texas, in the summer of 2012, and I've found there is one thing consistent about Texas golf: wind.

There will always be wind, and there’s nothing you can do except learn to play in it. As someone who hits a high cut with a lot of spin, this was a very hard lesson for me to learn. Believe me, it’s not the ideal climate for my game. But if I was going to be able to play well in my new home, I had to learn how to control my trajectory and spin.

The easiest area to improve ball flight control is with your wedges, namely inside of 125 yards.

It is absolutely critical to have a variety of swings with each of your wedges that you'll know will go approximate distances.

In my bag, I carry a 52-, 56- and 60-degree wedges, as well a 46-degree pitching wedge. I carry my 52-degree wedge about 115 yards, my 56-degree goes about 100 yards, and my 60-degree flies roughly 85 yards. However, I also have developed nine different shots with each wedge, built around a clock system, so that I can dial in from most every distance and situation inside 125 yards. These swings have different lengths of backswing, allowing me to not only control distance but also trajectory and spin.

The best drill for picking up on partial wedge shots is to use the clock system, with 6 o'clock being the start of the swing and 12 o'clock being above your head.

With each wedge, you're going to hit nine different types ofshots. Start with the highest-lofted club, and go through the following routine.

Take the club back to 8 o'clock and follow through to 4 o'clock. Choke down halfway on the grip and swing again. Then choke down almost to the metal and swing one more time.

Repeat this pattern swinging from 9-3 o'clock and 10-2 o'clock.

What you will notice is that each shot will have a different distance and apex. Some of the distances will overlap but the height of the ball will vary, which is key for determining which shot to hit when facing differing conditions.

Seth Hill is a contributor at Golf News Net and an instructor at Hozl, a golf instruction company based in Austin, TX that offers a personal swing coach at an affordable price. 

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Seth Hill