What Golf Club in Your Bag Is Used The Most?

CLEVELAND_WEDGEIf golfers drive for show and putt for dough, where does the wedge game fit in the mix? According to a recent report by Cleveland Golf, 65% of all shots for an average golfer come from inside 125 yards. Even more importantly, 45% of all shots, not including putts, are used with a wedge.

Research from the National Golf Foundation indicates that only 22 percent of all golfers regularly score better than 90 for 18 holes on a regulation length course. 25 percent of all males regularly break 90 while just 7 percent of females eclipse that mark. According to the NGF, the average 18-hole score on a full-size course is 97 for men and 114 for women.

Therefore for an average male golfer who averages 36 putts per round, roughly 27.5 strokes per round are taken using wedges. That number increases to 35 strokes per round for women. The wedges in your bag might include a pitching wedge, gap wedge, sand wedge and maybe even an additional wedge.

According to Cleveland golf, 13.3 is the average handicap of a player carrying three or more wedges. The average handicap climbs to 18 for avid players who use two or fewer wedges. The numbers seem to indicate that carrying more wedges might actually improve versatility around the green by giving players the option to hit a lob shot, pitch and roll, bump-and-run or even an explosion shot.

To address this issue, Cleveland Golf has introduced a new wedge fitting system that will help golfers quickly and accurately select a proper wedge set. The Wedge Fitting Application at the Cleveland Golf website, helps golfers, golf club fitters and golf shop employees identify the correct models, lofts, and bounces so the wedges can be customized for lie angle, shaft and grip.

The Cleveland Golf Fitting System also features interchangeable wedge heads that are available in a different loft, bounce, lie angle and model options, and include a variety of interchangeable wedge shafts. Cleveland said changing wedge heads and shafts is done in a matter of seconds and interchangeable wedges feature identical specifications to the wedges a player will use on the course.

“It’s no secret that a player’s wedge game is critical to scoring and performance,” said Todd Harman, President of Cleveland Golf/Srixon – U.S.A. “We’ve raised the bar with wedge innovations over the years such as multiple bounce options, Zip Grooves, cool finishes and now Rotex technology. With the introduction of our new Fitting System and Fitting Application, we’ve made it easier than ever for any player to use the right set of wedges and get the correct loft gapping throughout their entire set. This is a game-changer for us and the equipment industry. The way that golf professionals and retailers are now able to comprehensively fit a golfer for a wedge set is truly a breakthrough.”

To learn more on the Cleveland Golf Wedge Fitting Application visit the Cleveland Wedge Fitting Application.

The Secret of Phil Mickelson’s Chip Shots

PHIL_MICKELSON_CHIP_SHOTIf you’re looking to match Phil Mickelson’s prowess with chip shots, you better be prepared to practice a lot. According to a recent interview with the four-time major champion, Phil Mickelson hits over 1,500 wedge shots throughout his weekly practice routine.

“I like doing it (practice routine) either in my yard at home where I built a practice facility or some of the local clubs or when I’m on the road at a different club. But I practice flying my wedges to a specific yardage three days a week.” said Phil Mickelson. “I hit over 1,500 golf balls and try to fly it within a yard or hit a target, and, for the most part, I’m able to fly it within a yard 90% of the time.”

“So the fact that it landed close to the hole (last year at the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open), it was supposed to. I mean, I work at that. That’s what I practice. It’s not an accident that my wedge game is what it is, because I sit there and work on it. I just don’t do it out here for everybody to see.”

According to Phil Mickelson, he hits the pin with a wedge about a dozen times a year, which often causes a worse result than not hitting the pin. “(Short-game guru Dave) Pelz wants me to have the pin removed on every wedge shot, which I won’t do because it just looks bad. But the fact is that I hit the pin a dozen times a year, and probably 11 out of those 12, the ball ends up in a worse spot because of it. So two things. I wanted to give it two chances to get in. One, trying to fly it in, and two, trying to back it up back into the hole, and it came close. It didn’t go in, so what does it matter, but it came close.”

3 Golf Pitch Shots That Could Save Your Round

GOLF PITCH SHOTYou’re faced with a golf pitch shot about 15 or 20 yards in front of the green. It’s this type of shot in which you need options if you’re going to get up and down consistently. Here are three types of shots that you can use to your advantage – a low shot, a medium shot or a high, soft flop shot.

When setting up for a low trajectory pitch shot, a very important thing to understand is the shaft angle needs to be set forward and stay in that position through impact. You’ll also want to move a little closer to the golf ball, so the ball releases quickly towards the hole. The keys here are to keep the golf club shaft angle forward at impact, get closer to the golf ball and then set the golf ball a little back of middle in your stance.

Another fundamental to remember with all three of these shots is to hit down on the golf ball. Many golfers mistakenly try and lift the golf ball in the air resulting in a chunky shot or a thin one that releases all the way across the green.

Make sure you set up with the shaft angle forward at address so you can return to that shaft angle at impact. Get closer to the golf ball, hit down into the golf ball and you’ll produce a low running shot.

With the medium pitch shot, we’re going to set up with ball in the middle of our stance, the shaft angle is going to be straight up from the golf ball and we’re also going to be our usual distance from the golf ball. This golf swing is a short, descending blow that will fly towards the green with a little more loft and a little less release. This is probably the most consistent pitch shot to hit and should be your first choice around the greens if possible.

The final pitch shot is a soft, high shot or “flop” shot. This is the shot that everyone loves to hit, but it’s also the hardest and most difficult shot to repeat.

Setting up to a flop shot, you’ll need to open the clubface and move farther away from the golf ball. Since we move closer to the golf ball for the lower running shot, we’re going step a couple balls back away from your normal stance for this high-loft shot. Also, remember to aim your clubface where you want the golf ball to go first then set your body around that position.

For this golf shot, you’ll want your clubface aimed to the target but your stance will be open approximately 15-20 degrees. This shot requires a bit longer golf swing, right along your body line. A bigger swing with an open club face will launch the ball high and will also limit how far the ball releases after impact.

With all three of these shots, remember to hit down into the golf ball, there’s no scooping allowed. Also, be sure to survey the situation before you decide which of these golf shots to hit. There is definitely some risk/reward involved in this decision that could have a huge impact on your success.

Focus on Your Short Game to Lower Your Scores

Visit just about any golf driving range or practice facility in the world and there’s a good chance you’ll see a majority of players working on hitting the golf ball longer. The lure of more distance off the tee is quite enticing to many, especially men.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking to lower your golf handicap, working on gaining extra distance is probably not the best use of your time. If nearly 67% of all golf shots are taken within 100 yards of the hole, it becomes quite obvious that the short game often decides the men from the boys.

As a golfer, interested in shooting lower scores, there is little doubt you’ve heard this sermon before — “devote more of your practice time to your short game.” The reason is as simple as the math above, your score comes from your short game.

But wait there’s more. When you spend time practicing your putting and your short shots and swings — in the proper way – you get double the reward because the skills you develop in this area transfer to your long game.

Click here to read more.

Review: Phil Mickelson DVD Secrets of the Short Game


Secrets of the Short Game

Phil Mickelson’s DVD “Secrets of the Short Game” wasn’t the first short game video series and it won’t be the last. But it just might be the best production that can truly change your game and improve your technique around the greens immediately.

Yes, I’m a long time Dave Pelz fan and so is Phil. However, the quality and quantity of tips, technique and tricks in this two DVD set is worth its weight in gold. In fact, it’s often surprising at not only the content, but the candor Mickelson has while teaching and demonstrating the various shots in front of the camera. His personality and confidence shines through brightly in this DVD series which was produced and directed by Terry Jastrow, a seven-time Emmy award winner whose credits include Producer/Director of six previous Olympic Opening Ceremonies, Super Bowl XIX, 68 Golf Majors and events ranging from an Indianapolis 500 and Kentucky Derby.

The first “Secrets of the Short Game” disc focuses on putting and chipping while the second disc includes a flop shot section, bunker play and specialty shots such as buried lies and longer bumker shots.

Phil’s putting approach can be at times analytical, but almost always makes simple sense. One of the main suggestions that I took away from this section was the Jackie Burke 25/75 concept. Burke suggests that your backswing swing should be 25 percent and your swing through the ball should be 75 percent. This should allow you to hit the ball aggressively while accelerating through the shot and creating a smooth rhythm.

The chipping section is quite blunt – there is only one effective way to chip. In fact, Phil is quite honest in saying anyone who doesn’t subscribe to this theory is nuts. Here Mickleson teaches to break your wrist immediately when going back on a chip, then hold on and accelerate toward the hole. After watching him demonstrate this simple technique, it’s hard to imagine why you would want to do anything else.

Another highlight of the series is Phil’s precise explanation of his famous flop shot. The amateur golfer might actually be a bit frightened from trying this type of shot after learning about how much thought and preparation Phil puts in even before attempting such a shot. But this knowledge is priceless and Mickelson’s in-depth explanation of matching the shot with the lie can only help golfers of all experience levels.

Can Phil Mickelson’s “Secrets of the Short Game” help your game?  Yes, most definitely. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find more quality golf short game instruction content packed into a more entertaining and easy to watch format. Phil Mickelson’s “Secrets of the Short Game” retails for $49.95 and is available from Golfsmith.

Golf Shop Live Phil Mickelson – Secrets of the Short Game DVD

Golf Shop Live Phil Mickelson - Secrets of the Short Game DVD

How to Save Shots Around the Greens


Golf professional Kent Smith explains how to use the bounce and loft of the golf club to escape from difficult lies and save shots around the green.