I was attending the PGA Annual Meeting this weekend where James Siekmann was our guest speaker. James is a full time instructor with PGA Tour Players such as Tom Pernice, Emiliano Grillo, Ben Crane, Jeff Overton, Charlie Hoffman, and many more. He made such a great point about good wedge players. It would be great if everyone could hit a full wedge shot, land 4 feet from the pin, get it to back up or release it the other four feet. However, that is unlikely to happen even with the best players in the world. What he wants from his students is for them to have a “one hop and stop” shot.
To create a “one hop and stop shot” means that you rarely hit a full sandwedge into the green because it will not allow for the ball to land softly and release a few feet and stop. A full sandwedge would create excessive spin, bring the ball back away from the target. The full shot is appropriate if you want to hit past the pin and bring it back if you have lots of green behind the pin.
He suggested testing all your wedges and creating a distance chart. Most have 4 wedges; pitching, gap, sand, and lob. Check out the chart below. I highlighted the likely “one hop and stop” shots for the average person.
The Pitch and the Gap Wedges will need to have about 75% energy imparted into the ball for it to have just enough to spin and stop on the green. Any more energy applied, it will spin too much and come back, much less and the ball will release too far on the roll out.
The Sand and the Lob Wedge has enough loft that a 50% shot will allow the ball to hit, hop, and stop. Any more energy into the ball will cause it to back up, any less energy will cause low spin on the ball and have too much roll out.
So next time you are on the range or in the virtual golf, break out the wedges and create your chart. If it is good enough for tour players, then it should work for you too.