By Jordan Spieth
Photos by Walter Iooss Jr.
Generally speaking, you don't want to hit a wedge shot higher than it's necessary to carry an obstacle or stop it near the hole. Sending the ball sky-high just makes it harder to be accurate. This philosophy certainly holds true when you play in the wind. When I prep for the British Open, I spend time working on hitting lower shots into those firm and undulating greens. Not only do I want to keep the ball from getting knocked down too soon when I'm going into the wind, I want to get it to check up on the green when the breeze is behind me. To accomplish either of these things, you need to make the right club selection and alter your normal full-swing technique. I'll walk you through it. — With Ron Kaspriske
You want to lower the trajectory of the shot, but you still need a decent amount of backspin so you can stop the ball on the green. For spin, you need a higher-lofted club, such as a sand or lob wedge, but those clubs also increase trajectory. What to do? To keep the shot down with a high-lofted wedge, play the ball farther back in your stance than normal—nearly in line with your back foot (above).
Also, set up in a narrow stance to maintain balance and to prevent overswinging. Staying in control leads to solid contact for predictable ball flight and spin.
Your main swing thought should be, Keep the handle leaning toward the target through the impact zone. This will deloft the club a lot—picture hitting a wedge shot with an 8-iron. Feel like your left hand is holding off the release of the club. Do that, and your swing will have a short finish, like I'm demonstrating here (see below).
Body rotation also is important: You don't need much going back, but you want plenty going forward. Finish with your belt buckle and chest facing the target. If you focus on rotating toward the target while keeping the clubshaft leaning forward, you'll hit those knockdown wedges stiff.