It has been raining so hard in the Pacific Northwest since Sunday that it’s like Winter said to itself, “Oh, my gosh! I forgot to rain this winter!” and is making up for it. The course I play at is a soggy mess. Some of the depressions in the fairways are so full of water there are ducks paddling about in the temporary lakes. Time to go to the range.
I got a huge bucket of balls. Two huge buckets. You get unlimited golf balls between 9 and 11 a.m. for $8, and there are about 150 balls in one huge bucket. I got two buckets and I hit wedges. Maybe 15 each of drivers, 6-iron, and 8-iron, and about 250 wedges. Boy, did I learn a few things.
I have come around to carrying four wedges — pitching wedge, 52, 56, and 60. My swing lets me get up to the green in a hurry. My handicap reflects my ability to get up and down. Four wedges.
What I worked on today 250 times, rotating between all four wedges, was this:
1. Clean contact, consistent contact.
2. Consistent swing length. I am a member of the “govern your distance with your body turn” school of pitching.
2a. Developing two distinct degrees of body turn that (a) come at natural stopping places so I can feel them easily, and (b) produce significant differences (~20 yards) in the distance the ball goes.
3. Hitting the ball straight.
4. Covering the ball at impact. Let me explain this point.
Golfers who read Hogan’s Five Lessons like to talk about pronation and supination. What those terms mean is: pronation means turning the something down toward the ground, supination means turning it toward the sky. The easy way to remember which is which is the alliteration of supination and sky.
When you hit the ball, you want the palm of your right hand (left hand, for left-handers) to be pronated — turned down. Actually, it isn’t turned down, it’s facing forward, but what you don’t want to do is supinate it — have it facing the sky. That you can easily do. Pronating the right hand at impact traps the ball between the club and the ground giving you a clean, sharp hit with lots of spin. This is how you hit crisp wedges that hit and stop. It’s also how you hit irons with authority in the air and bite when they land, and hitting lots of pitches with a pronated right hand is how you learn to build that move into your swing.
So what I did was take the first steps in learning how to hit accurate pitches to any distance inside 100 yards. At the same time, I was working on a key impact move in my full swing. The 6-irons I hit after all this wedge work were new and tremendous, by the way.
The only way to get good at something is to do lots of it. Not a few times, but lots of times. Rain continues to be forecast, so I’ll likely be hitting wedges at the range Thursday morning, too. In the meantime,
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