Sweeps Alert! Wedge Play Wizardry

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By Rick V., Team Titleist Staff

  • 148 Replies
  1. **UPDATE: The sweepstakes is now closed. We'll be reaching out to our winners shortly.

    Hey, Team Titleist.

    A few weeks ago, we presented a special live webinar hosted by Titleist staff members Layne Savoie and Dr. Rob Neal, the co-founders of WedgeCraft. During this exclusive Team Titleist event, Layne and Doc shared a wealth of short game knowledge that they have acquired over the course of more than eight years studying and working with the world's most accomplished wedge players.

    The data they collected through their study led to the identification of Seven Control Variables - core fundamentals of wedge play that the world's best have mastered and that you can learn, as well, to develop your own elite short game.

    Luckily, we had the foresight to record the live webinar and from it, we were able to produce several great videos that are now available for viewing on the Titleist Instruction Center. In these videos, Doc and Layne examine a variety of short game shots and analyze the techniques used by some of the world's finest wedge players in the game, including Titleist brand ambassadors Justin Thomas, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Ian Poulter and more.

    To learn more about the science of wedge play, and for a deep dive into the fundamentals of three core short game shots, check out the following videos:

    Wedge Play Wizardry | Part 1: Introduction to WedgeCraft

    Wedge Play Wizardry | Part 2: Elite Technique of Titleist Tour Players

    Wedge Play Wizardry | Part 3: Distance Wedge Keys with Jordan Spieth

    Wedge Play Wizardry | Part 4: Finesse Wedge Keys with Justin Thomas

    Wedge Play Wizardry | Part 5: Keys to the Lob Shot with Jason Dufner

    Full Webinar: The Science of Wedge Play Featuring Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and More

    For more great wedge play instruction, be sure to visit WedgeCraft.com, as well as Layne and Doc’s pages on the Titleist Instruction Center:





    We have a special surprise for all you short game fanatics out there. Layne and Doc have recently developed a digital wedge intensive that is available at WedgeCraft.com. This comprehensive, 12-week subscription course takes you through the Seven Control Variables and provides a weekly framework to develop and strengthen these critical short game skills. The program includes more than three hours of video content, monthly live webinars and includes over forty drills and exercises to help improve your technique and lower your scores.

    And to thank the Team Titleist community for their support, Doc and Layne have been kind enough to provide digital subscriptions for six lucky members of Team Titleist!

    HERE’S HOW TO ENTER - PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: Add a comment below in the form of a question for Doc and Laynethen hit the "Submit Reply" button.

    Sample entries: 

    "What adjustments do you make for a short finesse shot out of thick rough, like we saw at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot?"

    "How do you know when to play a low running chip shot vs. a pitch with more carry?"

    “Why do I hit so many chunks and thin shots on full wedge shots?”

    "Are there any good wedge drills that I can do indoors or in the back yard?"

    Yes, it's that easy. Any topic is fair game.


    We’ll randomly select six (6) winners from all approved entries that are submitted by Friday, October 2, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

    A few more important details... Only one entry per person. If you send in multiple replies, you'll be disqualified from the contest. Don't forget to include all of the details outlined above or your entry will not be considered eligible.

    After the drawing, Larry will respond to as many submitted questions as he can to help get our games on the right track for the rest of the season.

    Keep in mind, all posts are moderated, and it may take some time for your reply to appear. We'll do our best to approve posts quickly but if you enter more than one reply, we have to disqualify you from the drawing (sorry to repeat this but we want to make sure it's clear).

    No purchase necessary. View complete rules here: http://www.titleist.com/company/Community-Policy.aspx#sweepstakes

    U.S. only. Here's some more info: Why are Titleist sweepstakes U.S. only?

    Good luck!

    Titleist Staff

  2. 60-70 yard wedge shots seem to give me a lot of trouble. I'm either hitting the ball 120 yards with my 58 degree wedge or 40 yards with my 56 degree wedge (upgrading to 54 next spring for better gapping). Do you have any advice?
  3. Andrew K,

    Big gap there with a lot going on for that kind of spread between 4 degrees of loft. Your driver speed must be pretty big! My suggestion is: learn to create an impact position that is consistent. Meaning that the shaft lean, attack angle and contact point are stable, then you can focus your efforts on speed control to match the appropriate yardage.
  4. LAYNE S said:

    Andrew K,

    Big gap there with a lot going on for that kind of spread between 4 degrees of loft. Your driver speed must be pretty big! My suggestion is: learn to create an impact position that is consistent. Meaning that the shaft lean, attack angle and contact point are stable, then you can focus your efforts on speed control to match the appropriate yardage.

    Thank you Layne! I should have stated that with a full swing I tend to thin the heck out of my 58 degree wedge. Hence it going 120 yards! I tend to fat my 56. I would guess the contact point is the issue.
  5. Hey Doc and Layne,

    I play the ap3 pitching wedge at 43 degrees, what would you recommend for filling out my wedge set composition?

    Also, what are some drills I can do at home to practice my short game?

    Thanks :)
  6. Adam w,

    I would need a little more information to "round out" the rest of the bag with loft gaps in the wedge zone, but your general rule of thumb is that it is to your advantage to keep the loft gaps around 4 degrees, sometimes 5, between the clubs as you increase loft. I would see if 4 degree increments are appropriate...Not sure, I would need to see the rest of the bag to do a proper fit suggestion. Good Luck!
  7. Paul F

    Paul F
    New York, NY

    Why do I hit so many chunks and thin shots on full wedge shots?
  8. Paul F,

    Chunks and thins are no fun! Sorry for the troubles. I would first look at your ability to lean the shaft forward at impact. After that, try to coordinate shaft lean with your ability to hit a tee or leaf on the ground and present the proper low point for precision with shaft lean. Try at lower speeds for early success!


    Layne S
  9. Robert J

    Robert J
    Washington Township, MI

    What adjustments would I need to make when using a wedge from a greenside sandtrap that is very firm, more like mud than sand to get the ball out and onto the putting surface?
  10. Robert J,

    Firm, muddy bunkers are easy if you can produce a steep attack angle into the ball. Obviously, you would need to hit closer to the ball than a normal bunker due to the likelihood that the club will want to "bounce" off the surface and create a "skull". So, get aggressive and hit down hard trying to strike close to the ball.

    all the best,

    Layne S
  11. Tyler H

    Tyler H
    Appleton, WI

    What are the key steps to hitting high spin bunker shots?

  12. Tyler H,

    Good question! In WedgeCraft studies, we were lucky enough to watch and test the great Luke Donald hit this style of shot. He is maybe the best out of the bunker over the last 15 years. Amazing stuff!

    A couple of key to hitting a high spin bunker shot: 1) play an exaggerated open face condition at set-up, this will allow you to swing hard thus generating more speed and spin. 2) control you strike- hit very close to the ball with minimal sand and focus on a toe strike on the contact point. 3) explore trying to use a "strong lead hand grip coupled with a weak trail hand grip". They call this the "butterfly" grip, made famous in teaching circles by Pete Cowen. It works!

    good luck,

    Layne S
  13. Diego D

    Diego D
    Miami, FL

    Thank you for sharing this info, Rick.

  14. Diego D,

    We enjoyed working with Rick V and the rest of Team Titleist. It was fun to create this piece. Hopefully, everyone will enjoy.


    Layne S
  15. Don O

    Don O
    Madison, WI

    My "favorite" approach shot is short-sided, either 2 feet from green in 3-4 inches of lush grass or just outside a bunker on the short side. How can I minimize the return putt distance from 20-30 feet (if not off the green on the long side)? Assuming I'm not in the bunker or still a foot into the lush rough.
  16. Don O,

    I have never heard anyone say they like that one! Funny! Ok- Imagine Watson at Pebble Beach on #17 in 1982. Watch it closely. Lots of great detail on that memorable shot. 1) open the club face and really get the weight forward at address and KEEP the weight there until the ball is long gone- never back up. 2) set the wrists early with a slow turn on the backswing 3) turn your chest down into and through impact with a steep strike on the ball. The attack angle is so steep, the club will want to stop at the bottom of the arc. You do all of this with soft hands- like Watson.

    Good luck,

    Layne S
  17. Deno

    Hawthorne, NJ

    Does the shaft and hand angle change at set up dependeing on the preferred ball flight. Higher pitch shot vs low running shot?

  18. Deno,

    Good one! Yes, it is great to change hand height depending upon the trajectory you prefer to hit at any givern moment . Low hands at address will allow the player to use more loft and open the lead edge producing nice high shots. High hands (ulnar deviation) at address, result in minimal wrist movement during the motion and is commonly used for lower shots and shallow attack angle strikes.

    Layne S
  19. Jerry M

    Jerry M
    Dallas, TX

    On short chip shots around the green (tight or in light rough) is it always best to have most of your weight forward?
  20. Jerry M,

    YES, keep the weight forward! Your instincts are correct. You really can stay forward until you start swinging hard and hitting some fairly full wedges from the fairway. Nobody has their weight back on any of the short game wedge shots inside 50yds.

    Layne S
  21. How do you know when its time to hit the flop shot ?
  22. walter h,

    Only hit a flop shot when it is the last option, otherwise figure out something easier. Most TOUR greens require that type of shot to get the ball close to the hole because it is so firm and fast, but regular weekend golf usually does not present that shot very often. Try stay low and focus on getting better in the ground game. Safer, more predictable and easier to execute than the flop.

    Layne S
  23. Andrew A

    Andrew A
    Charlotte, NC

    How do you play the low, one hop and stop pitch shot. I see the pros play it all the time and I have been tinkering but can't get the same action.
  24. Andrew A,

    Good one! To start, the equipment is BIG....You MUST have fresh Vokey and a ProV1. If your wedge grooves are tired and the ball is not premium there is no chance. Also, dry conditions with clean equipment goes a long way. Technique- requires precision. Lots of shaft lean, open face with the path leftward. It would be a low slice with any other club, only in this case your using a 60 degree. Not an easy one, pretty advanced for even the great players.

    Layne S
  25. As a fairly new golfer- what is the most important thing I should get in my head / focus on regarding wedge play? Thanks
  26. TUrreta,

    Understand that even though wedge shots are short, they are difficult to execute because the wedge requires players to hit the ground in a precise location with a specific impact conditions. That can be hard to do a slow speed and when there is a mishit, the club can stop abruptly before impact OR skip into the ball producing a low skull shot. Focus on impact and where you hit the ground with shaft lean. This will help develop hand-eye coordination and solid strikes.
  27. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    How do you play a bunker shot when the pin is up close with little green to work with?
  28. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    How do you play a bunker shot when the pin is up close with little green to work with?
  29. See the Tyler H reply... Same advice in my view. Good luck!
  30. Around the green, there are so many different type of shots to play. What are the best stances and alignments for different shots? Example, bump and run, flop, etc. Thanks?
  31. golfinnut

    Leesburg, VA

    What's the best way for the average golfer to add more spin to wedge shots?
  32. golfinnut,

    The best way to create spin is to have great equipment (like the pros) and proper form. Both pieces are crucial. A fresh Vokey wedge is a must along with a ProV1. Make sure the club face and ball are clean and dry. Lastly, try to figure out how to lean the shaft while maintaining a shallow strike for impact. That's it! Easier said than done, but at least you can buy half the formula!

    Layne S
  33. How do you control spin on half and full wedge shots to keep shots from running out or spinning back too much?
  34. Tom B

    Tom B
    Northborough, MA

    What's the best way to hit the semi punch 1 hop and stop wedge?
  35. Tom B,

    Please see the response to golfinnut inquiry about the same subject. Ditto!

    good luck,

    Layne S
  36. pulplvr

    Spring, TX

    Earlier in my golfing life, I used to vary ships by changing the lie of the iron behind the ball, veering from closed to open for low running or higher, softer shots, but still chips. Now, I have great difficulty doing the same thing using the chipping techniques I've been taught recently. My old chipping method was with a slight up to down swing, while now I'm taught to swing like I'm putting. Does one method give better results than the other?
  37. pulplvr,

    My suggestion is to remember the old technique! Just kidding. My guess would be that your "new" technique has created a very shallow impact causing some mishits. Explore trying to hinge the wrist earlier on the backswing and see if that helps... Wedge play requires players to be both shallow and steep, depending on the lie and circumstances.

    Layne S
  38. Jeff P

    Jeff P
    Murrieta, CA

    Very informative!
  39. Jeff P,

    Big thanks! We appreciate you watching. Please visit our website for more information.


    Layne S
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