When recreational players are faced with a shot around the green, we tend to rely on a high loft wedge to execute it, whether or not that club is the right one for the job.
That’s a mistake, says Stefanie Shaw, a professional instructor at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla., and Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York.
“You have to take a really big swing to hit a high-loft club to get it to travel a really short distance, so there’s a lot of room for error there,” Shaw told me during the recent Top 100. GOLF Teacher Summit at Pinehurst. “I like to say to my students: you throw with a sand wedge and you chip with a pitching wedge. The only time I want to have a high-loft wedge in my hand is when I need to get over an obstacle in front of me, like a bunker, thick grass, or water.
A high loft club is a wedge with a loft of 56 degrees or more – usually a sand wedge in most players’ bags.
So instead of immediately hitting your sand wedge when faced with a chip, Shaw recommends using a club that you can keep low to the ground, like a pitching wedge. You can even opt for a mid-iron or even a hybrid if you’re comfortable.
“The longer I can keep a ball on the ground, the more control I have over it,” she said.
The next time you have a few extra minutes in the practice area, take a few balls to compare your results with different clubs around the green. Once you get comfortable with rolling out your low loft clubs, you’ll appreciate the added control and lower scores.