How is it possible such a little shot can cause so much grief for so many golfers? A big dog can make a golf ball travel 400 yards in two shots but give that same playa a shot from 50 to 75 yards and you see some tragic things!
I'm sure you've also seen countless guys blading balls over the green or hitting fat shots that don't even reach the green. You may be one of them. I know I was. So what's the big deal?
It's time we talked just exactly how to hit a wedge shot 50 to 75 yard?
I'm going to outline how I went from totally sucking at this shot to being lethal in only 2 practice sessions:
- Technique to play the shot from 50 to 75 yards
- Controlling the distance
- Which club to play it with
- How to practice it
By the end of this guide, I hope you'll be able to do it! By the way, the best way to avoid these shots on the course is to follow my system for breaking 90.
Key concepts for hitting wedges 50 to 75 yards
- The club you use is up to you. There's no firm and fast rule. I personally use 50° 54° and 58° wedges
- Keep your weight more on your left side to stop yourself falling back to scoop the ball
- Have your sternum directly over the ball
- Put the ball in the middle of your stance
- Don't use your arms to try scoop it - you need to turn your body with the shot and have your arms follow your body
- Keep your arms closer to your body for body rotation - close your armpits against your body
- Hit down on it but take a shallower divot - it'll be shallow automatically because you rotate your body
- Distance control is achieved through the length of your back swing and the wedge you use
Technique for 50 to 75 yard pitch shots
You are hitting a long chip shot. It's that simple.
The hard part to hit it close from 50 to 75 yards is understanding we don't care about 50 to 75 yards to start with.
Step by step technique to hit 50 to 75 yards
- Take your 2, 3 or 4 wedges and a bunch of golf balls to a practice area or a field. Take something like a bag or hat to place at the position where you hit from, so you can shoot your rangefinder back to that object to identify your distances. This will become clearer further down.
- Pick a 'feels like' swing for yourself. You should select 50% or feels like 75% whatever makes you comfortable and whichever is most reliable to repeat over and over. This will give you a ton of confidence to know you can keep doing it.
- We are only going to change lofts but use the same 'feels like' swing. The distance increase or decrease will come from lower loft for more distance or higher loft for less distance.
- Swing your 'feels like' swing hitting 10-15 balls with each wedge - the exact same swing for 10-15 balls with each of your 2-3 wedges. Higher loft will stay shorter and lower loft will go longer. You could use yellow balls for one wedge and white balls for the other wedge.
- Go to the area they landed. Remove the longest two and the shortest two. Then find a distance range but shooting your rangefinder to the spot you were hitting at.. The front ball may be 32 yards from your hitting spot and the longest ball may be 37 yards. Now you have your distance range with that wedge with that 'feels like' swing.
- Repeat this with all your wedges and do it a few times - perhaps once a week to keep yourself sharp.
- Write down the distance range per wedge and the feels like swing percentage and remember to use this on the golf course in future.
Below is a video from my Youtube channel explaining this concept to hit a 50 yard pitch shot and a 75 yard pitch shot with two different clubs and the same swing.
How do I control the distance from 50 to 75 yards?
Some people like to think of where their back swing must stop and then swing through the ball like a normal shot. You won't generate full shot club head speed with a shortened back swing and that by default will make the shot go a shorter distance EVEN WITH A FULL FOLLOW THROUGH
I like the idea of the clock system in Dave Pelz videos. I did use it for years.
As you can see, above, I've changed the clock to be a percentage for me. I hit my lob wedge 100 yards in full swing so I stop my back swing at 40%, 75% depending on the distance because 40% is of 100 yards is 40 yards. So the percentages and distance line up perfectly.
Here is the guru of the short game Dave Pelz giving us another explanation. With some awful music in the background
Which club should I use?
I use my 50° and my 54° and 58° wedge. On full swings, the 50 degree goes 115-120 yards while the 58 degree goes around 100.
The 50 degree is good for inside 90 yards where there is a lot of space on the green before the pin. I use the 58 degree for inside 90 yards where the isn't much green to work with.
Start practicing with your sand wedge and perfect that. Then move onto your other clubs. It's better to be lethal with one club than average with two or three.
How to practice these shots
Step 1: Go to a practice facility or your local course where there is a green made for pitching. If you don't have that, get to a grass driving range. Worst case scenario is an artificial turf driving range but it will do. Pick one club you'd like to work on. Don't try it with all 3 wedges you own - you'll just confuse yourself when you first start.
Step 2: Just start hitting balls with your chosen feel percentage or position on the 'clock'. Hit 10-20 just to get loosened up and in a groove. Then start to observe how far the ball is going.
Step 3: Put a head cover under your left armpit and keep it there throughout your swing to keep your armpits tucked in and get your body turning. We don't want to use just our arms here. Wrists can kill consistency with the 50 to 75 yard pitch shot. Try to remove their movement as much as possible.
Step 4: Hit balls with other wedges as you get more in tune with your chosen percentage or feels-like swing, and consciously take note of where your ball is landing relative to your power level. Pro-actively put that feeling into your brain so you can remember it on the course.
It's vital to be mindful when practicing otherwise you get onto the course and forget what you taught yourself.
Don't worry too much about flight control and super spin on these pitch shots just yet. Worry most about distance control and shot setup. Once you have those fundamentals, you can play around with making the ball spin or hitting lower shots into the greens.
So how to hit a 50 to 75 yard pitch shot? Follow the fundamentals in the video above and then practice it until you feel it in your bones. Always be conscious of yourself when practicing and be mindful of what you're doing and how it feels so you can replicate it on the course.
I know it sounds stupid, but when you hit a good one, physically take the "fairy dust" after the shot and put it in your golf bag or your pocket while on the range or practice facility. It genuinely works!