Three tips to improve your half-swing shots

Will MacKenzie
USA Today Images
When a PGA Tour player like Will MacKenzie needs a half-swing wedge shot, he can rely on hours of practice and knowing the exact distance he can hit each club in his bag.
By Mark Aumann
PGA.com

Problem Area: Short Game
Series: Lesson Learned

Published: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 10:44 a.m.

When PGA Tour professionals get into an "in between" yardage situation, they can rely on two things: knowing the exact distance of each of their wedges and hours of practice on the range.

LESSON LEARNED: Develop more feel in your short game

But amateurs don't usually have the time, energy or money to master the half-swing shot. So when faced with it on the course -- a finesse shot that's less than a full swing -- what can you do to hit it with more confidence?

We asked PGA professional Jeff Davis, head professional at Apple Mountain Resort and Golf Club in Clarkesville, Ga., and he offered these three tips:

1. Keep your lower body still

Davis: "I feel like that's a more precise situation at impact. Turn your shoulders and arms to move the club back in a gentle way, and try to keep your legs still. For the average player, that probably works better than what you see on Tour."

PGA PROFESSIONALS: Find an instructor near you

2. Strike the ball with a normal swing speed

Davis: "If you take a one-quarter backswing, try to finish one-quarter through. Or half-swing and half-swing. But sometimes, amateurs move their arms too much or flip their wrists and the club will come up behind their shoulder.

"For the average player, keeping a light grip and going back to a designated distance and back through a designated distance is hard. Most people will tighten up their grip. You see a lot of people overcompensate by trying to 'swing easy' and decelerate to the ball."

3. Open your stance

Davis: "It's like throwing a ball. If you're throwing a football or baseball, you don't have to figure the distance when you're doing it. You just do it. And that takes practice, to put in the brain what force is needed to throw the ball that far.

"When you throw a ball, your body is facing the target more. So I like to open my chest up more to the target."

 

 


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