I grew up playing golf with two wedges. I had a pitching wedge, and a sand wedge.
Virtually every shot I ever had to hit near a green was done with my sand wedge.
If I needed to hit the ball high, I learned to hit it high. If I needed to hit the ball low, I learned to hit the ball low.
These days, however, the short game has many more layers.
Clubs have become so specialized that the most difficult aspect of taking shots is deciding which of your four wedges to use. Though I appreciate these options, I believe that it has compromised the average golfers’ ability to develop a good short game.
Your short game is all about feel.
Proper rhythm and somewhat relaxed hands can contribute to this feel. Just as important, however, is the way in which you choose to practice your short game.
I like to have my players choose one wedge to practice with. Generally, they will choose the sand wedge, but a few will choose the lob wedge.
Whichever club is chosen, I’d like to see the ability to alter the trajectory of their shot by doing a better job of using the club properly.
If you want to pitch the ball high into the air, open the club up slightly and incorporate more wrist hinge into your backswing.
This will swing the clubhead higher into the air, thus producing a higher shot.
If you want to chip the ball lower to the ground, keep your wrist a bit firmer and that they do not hinge during your backswing. This will keep your clubhead lower to the ground, thus producing a lower shot.
By learning how to control the trajectory of your shots around the green with the same club, you will develop a greater feel for the shot in front of you.
Not only will you have better feel for managing the clubhead, but you will also develop greater feel by learning to be more imaginative with your shot.
Remember, golf is not about having the exact club for the shot you are faced with. Rather, golf is about learning to hit the shot with whatever club happens to be in your hands.