Waukesha County Seniors Monday Golf League


hit the dead wedge

You're 10 or 20 yards from the pin with trouble in between. The green is hard and fast and there isn't much to work with. Most players will bite the bullet and pitch long, hoping to get lucky with a long par putt. You shouldn't back down so easily.

You've got a 60-degree wedge, but even that won't produce the extra-steep trajectory you need to stop the ball close in this situation. It's a job for the "dead" wedge, not a club but a shot, one that flies extremely high, short, and thuds to a stop close to where it lands.

Something Different

To hit the DW, you've got to be willing to try something unlike any other short shot. Take your third wedge, or if you don't have one, a sand wedge, and set up in a very narrow, open stance, with your weight on your right side, the clubface aimed squarely at the target.

The trick to hitting this shot is wrist action back and through: With firm wrists, swing the clubhead back on a low, almost straight line. On the forward swing, instead of intentionally preventing the hands from rolling counterclockwise through impact, as you would with a typical explosion shot, take it one step further so that your right hand moves under your left through the hitting zone. This lays the face flat through impact, and the club slides under the ball, popping the shot almost straight up and landing it dead. It helps to feel that the right hand controls the club.

Favorite Lies

Experience probably has already taught you that the dead wedge will work best from a fluffy lie, such as light to moderate greenside rough, where you'll have ample room to slide the clubface beneath the ball. If the chips are down, you might want to risk it from a normal fairway lie; otherwise, if you're sitting tight, play a lower, safer shot and take your chances with the putt coming back.

Your experience also should have told you that this shot easily can be mishit unless struck fairly precisely. Spend time teaching yourself how to play it before attempting it out on the course.

Drill: Right Hand Only

To get accustomed to the feeling of the right hand controlling and rolling backward through impact, practice hitting the dead wedge with your right hand alone. After ten or fifteen shots, put your left hand on the club, but passively -- don't let it interfere with the reverse-roll that you've learned with the right hand.

Private Lessons 1999 Time4 Media, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.

Return to Home Page
Go to Tips Index (Vol. I)
Return to Tips Index (Vol. II)

If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this web site, please write to me: Ed Matarrese / revised November 15, 2002.