Steve Stricker is known for being deadly accurate inside of 100 yards. He was able to revamp his wedge game, which led to a career resurgence on Tour in the mid-to-late 2000s and made him one of the guys on Tour who is sought out for advice by fellow competitors.
Defending his title this week at the QBE Shootout, Stricker took a step towards going back-to-back with a beautiful eagle hole-out on the short par-4 10th hole at Tiburon Golf Club.
What is unique and often hard to duplicate is Stricker’s upright swing plane and minimal use of wrists and hands in the swing. With a more upright and close-to-the-ball setup, the club works directly back from the ball on the target line and then up to shoulder height — most players at this position have the club working inside and around the body.
The upright plane coupled with no hand and wrist action means the club face is going to be perfectly square to the path for the entire swing. The result is deadly accurate dart-like shots.
NOTE: Wedge shots are all about accuracy so minimizing hand and wrist action is a good way to eliminate excessive clubface rotation.
Not everyone will be able to quickly adjust to an upright path, due to either learned and ingrained motion or physical limitations. We all can, however, look to incorporate more body motion, specifically our upper body and shoulders to drive the swing motion.
In doing this, your wedge swing will become very connected and you should feel the club stay even with the body during the swing. If you feel like you are missing out on power then you are doing it right! Remember the goal is accuracy, and if you want to hit the shot farther, club up or adjust the length of the backswing.
The key to upping your wedge game will come with staying connected like Stricker does. Instead of the commentators remarking on how little wrist action he uses, it would help the viewers at home if they pointed out how well he controls his swing with the upper body.
Look to produce a square clubface that contacts the ball on a neutral path by starting with 40-to-50-yard wedge shots. This will be an easy transition into letting the body do the work and keeping the arms and hands quiet.