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Bounce your wedges

There are are many myths in golf and especially related to the golf swing and how to play certain shots.

Have you ever heard the following?

“Play the ball back in your stance for pitch shots…”.Yes, you’ve guessed it, this is a myth!

That is unless you are playing a little chip and run from the edge of the green or are really trying to keep your ball flight down.

The problem with positioning the ball too far back in your stance is that this will increase the amount of forward shaft lean making the leading edge of your clubface very sharp, reducing your margin for error. Wedges are designed with something called bounce on the sole of the club head. Bounce is the degree of angle difference between the leading and back edge of the club head, with the back edge sitting slightly lower than the leading edge. This bounce reduces the chance of the club head digging into the turf, but by playing the ball back in your stance, you will effectively negate the club heads bounce and can often create a negative bounce.

When you watch a Tour player from around the green, playing from really tight lies and you see them just bruising the grass without taking any divot, this is due to the bounce. Letting the back edge of the club head strike the turf before the leading edge makes it almost impossible to chunk. You can actually even get away with striking the ground a wee bit before the ball and still play a good shot. Bounce is your friend and it should be used.

Try positioning the ball slightly forward of centre of your stance when playing a standard pitch and let your hands hang naturally rather than pushing them forward. This will greatly reduce the amount of forward shaft lean at address. From this set up position you can confidently let the sole of your club head strike into the turf at impact, safe in the knowledge that the bounce will strike the turf and prevent your club from digging in.

Just remember that for the bounce to work, your club shaft will have to be fairly vertical as the club head strikes the turf. If you keep your hands pressed forward, be prepared for chunking and thinning!

Niall McGill

PGA Professional

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