"Quiet Hands" for A Better Short Game
Editor's Note: The following column originally ran on November 21, 2007.
I played golf last Friday with a group of guys at my club, all of whom are new golf buddies to me, as I just joined this past spring.
One of my playing partners was an emergency room physician who is a 4-handicap. Hits it a mile, but was commiserating about his difficulty inside 100 yards or so. He expressed real problems controlling distance on his wedge shots.
After complementing me on a couple of good pitch shots I had made, he realized that I was "that wedge guy" he had heard about.
So, he asked me what I thought was keeping his short game from being up to the standard of his long game. You can imagine I get that often, but I totally enjoy trying to give someone guidance that will help their scoring. Of course, on-course fixes are difficult, and I expressed that to him, but he wanted it anyway.
In his case, as I see so often, his short game was too much in the hands, that is, he was manipulating the clubhead back to the ball with a full wrist cock and "flip" of the hands to get the club back to the ball.
This leads to inconsistent contact and very poor distance control. My suggestion to him was to feel like the wrists were not cocking at all at the end of his backswing, but that he should release the club with his body rotation — with his hands.
I shared a mental picture with him where you feel like the shaft of the club is pointed straight upward as you reach the end of your backswing, rather than to hinge so that it points back toward the target. (It really doesn't do this, but it will feel like it.)
This is what we call "quiet hands" — the mark of a good wedge player. One way to achieve this is to focus your mind on your grip pressure. You should feel control of the club in the fingers of your left hand (for right-handed players), with little or no pressure felt in your "pincher" – formed by the thumb, forefinger and middle finger – of either hand.
Try this and let me know your results.
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.
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