quick coaching

Hit Your Wedges Close Like Rory

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on

Rory McIlroy plays his shot on the first hole during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open at St. George's Golf and Country Club on June 12, 2022Getty Images

For the eighth time in 110 editions, the RBC Canadian Open has a repeat champion. Rory McIlroy answered any questions from critics or otherwise today with a final round 62. With a 36-hole score of 127 over the weekend, McIlroy cemented himself as one of the game’s current best and gave everyone heading toward The Country Club something to think about.
Lately, Rory has been searching for that complete performance. We all know of his ability to drive the ball and hit towering approach shots into small targets. His putter acts much like everyone else on the PGA Tour, if it’s warm they contend. When you listen to Rory, he wasn’t satisfied with his scoring clubs.
Sunday, he seemed to bring his hard work to the course and closed out the tournament in Canada. What led him to that victory were those wedges. Check out this radar like scoring shot on the 71st hole!
In watching Rors rip through his wedge shots, I marvel at the simplicity of his move. As a PGA Coach, I am always looking for opportunities to teach my students something easy and repeatable. This Twitter video truly displays what makes Rory’s move so good. Watch the video one more time and this time pay attention to the length of his swing.
Amateurs consistently swing every club in their bag the same length on the backswing. What did you see when you looked at McIlroy’s swing again? He did not swing the wedge all the way to parallel. This is a significant point and one we should all copy. Consistency comes from making a repeatable motion in our golf swing. Wedges are meant to go a specific distance. That distance should be a perfect match alongside your body turn.
Next time you practice, try this drill at the range. Once warmed up, grab your pitching wedge.
  1. Take your normal address position.
  2. Then slide your trail hand down the shaft about three inches below the grip.
  3. Start to make a backswing by turning your torso.
  4. Keep turning until the shaft becomes perpendicular to the ground.
  5. Your lead arm should be parallel to the ground or a little higher.
  6. Get a good feel for this spot, and then repeat the drill.
You just discovered the limits of your body turn. That’s the spot where you have the most control over the club. It may feel like a quarter swing, but you will be well past two-thirds when you do the drill. From that position, swing back through the shot using your legs and shoulders. By keeping control of your arms and limiting their extra motion you will be super crisp at impact. This will control the length of your shots and make you a much better player with the short clubs.
You may think that shortening your swing will reduce overall length but give a try. By utilizing your larger muscles to swing through impact power won’t be a problem. In fact, some who start hitting their scoring clubs this way might even hit them a little farther!
A good player wants their irons to go one distance. This way they can play accurately toward the target. Stop hitting wedges different distances and learn to control your scoring approach shots by using your body. The difference you see will show up on the scorecard.