How many times have you been in perfect position after two shots on a par 5, you have a 20 yard pitch to the pin with nothing in your way but grass?You setup, make your swing, only to chunk the ball a couple of feet ahead. Now you have to get up and down just to make par, and to make matters worse, your next shot is in an identical situation, but now you can’t stop thinking about chunking the ball again. Does this all sound familiar?
Chunking a short wedge shot is extremely frustrating and a waste of a good opportunity to score. The reality is that even though lots of people suffer from this shot, few actually practice it. The most common cause for this type of chunk is extra lower-body movement. Many players think they have to scoop the club under the ball to impart spin; the result is their knees drop and they lay the sod over the ball. Do you see professionals scoop their knees on a shot (besides Jim Furyk)? The truth is the more stable your lower-body the better chance you have to make solid contact.
That ‘scoot and stop’ shot you see those professionals playing, where the ball take one hop and bites hard is a rather simple shot to play. To impart spin all you need to do is use a high-spin ball and hit the ball solidly with good fundamentals, it’s that simple. There is no ‘secret move’.
The following drill should help you realize the importance of a stable lower-body on short pitches. It will also help you develop a better feel on the type of shot that imparts spin. If you have a lie board, as shown in the pictures, this is best; however any wooden board will do just fine. Work on hitting shots off the board with your wedges. If you try to scoop your knees, you’ll hit well back on the board… your club will bounce off of it and the likely result is a skull or a top. You learn very quickly how to hit the ball solidly off the board and once you take these new skills to the course, you’ll notice an increase in the spin rate of your shot. This is because hitting the ball solidly off the board develops the proper motion that creates spin.