Do you want to finally learn how to hit the low trajectory high spin wedge shot?
You know…the pitch shot that every amateur golfer loves watching on TV but rarely pulls off in real life. The one that hits the green, releases slightly and stops on a dime.
The low flying knockdown spinning shot is great when you have a back pin and don’t want to risk sailing a lob wedge over the green. I consider it as fun of a shot to pull off as the Phil Mickelson flop shot. Unlike the flop, it’s actually easier than you might think.
Typically, the low trajectory high spin wedge shot is done from 50-80 or 90 yards and is a great tool to have in your arsenal. To understand how to play the shot, you have to first learn about how backspin is created, master the fundamentals and practice.
Here’s everything you need to learn how to hit the low spinning wedge.
First off, to pull this shot off you need to understand how backspin really works. So many amateur players don’t trust the club to do the work.
Most amateurs don’t create much spin because they…
- Come over the top
- Take too big of divots
- Place the ball in the wrong part of their stance
All of these will lead to a shot that doesn’t generate much, if any backspin. Very simply, if you want to create backspin, you have to hit down on the ball! You can’t try to help the ball up.
Instead, you have to let the loft do the work for you. Here are a few other tips to make sure you’re ready to hit this epic pitch shot.
To make this shot work, you also need to ensure you’re playing quality golf balls (i.e. not the one you found in the lake last weekend). You also need to have the right clubs to do it. While you don’t need brand new wedges, having clean wedges that aren’t five or more years old is crucial. You need grooves that grip the golf ball once you make contact.
Now that you understand the equipment needed, think back to the last time you generated a shot with a ton of backspin. For full shots, it’s usually the ones that are hit pure or ones that are hit a groove low. When you get a thin shot, it’s not uncommon for it to travel a bit further but also stop quickly and maybe even come backwards.
Lastly, it’s important to understand that this shot doesn’t work close range.
I’m sure you’ve noticed when creating backspin, the further out from your target, the easier it is to create backspin. That’s because when you’re farther away from the target, you can generate more speed during the shot. Speed equals spin with wedges and distance with longer clubs.
With so many golf shots in this crazy game, there are a lot of misconceptions on how to actually pull off certain shots. One of them specifically is how to hit low shots. So many players think that to hit it low, they have to put it in the back of their stance. This is a big mistake!
While you do need to position it slightly back of center, all the way off your right foot is a recipe for disaster. I’ll talk more about ball position in just a second, remember that when you hit down on a shot, it goes higher up! This is exactly what happens when you put it too far in the back of your stance.
Here’s the step by step process on how to hit the low flying spinning wedge shot.
The low flying spinner requires the right lie. Similar to the flop shot, if you try this without the right conditions, it’s almost impossible to pull off. Before attempting, make sure your lie allows the shot.
You need to have a clean lie in the fairway and have 40-100 yards to the target. That 40 yard range can be deceptive, so don’t be afraid to use a rangefinder. If the ball has mud on it, don’t try it. If the ball is in the rough, don’t try it. Both situations won’t allow the clubface to generate enough friction with the ball and create enough spin.
Also, make sure the pin is in the right spot on the green. Ideally, this shot only works for middle and back pain positions. Front pin locations from this distance need a high flying pitch shot that goes high and stops quickly.
Lastly, make sure there isn’t any trouble long of the green. If you have an impossible bunker or a hazard long, don’t try this unless you’re 100% confident you’ve trained it enough in practice.
Most amateur golfers should have 3-4 wedges in the bag with varying degrees of loft and wedge bounce. Choose your sand or gap wedge, preferably around 54-56 degrees. Anything higher than 56 makes it harder to keep it low. And a pitching wedge might not generate enough spin. Stick with the sand or gap wedge!
Another common misconception about hitting the skip and stop shot is that you should have a lot of forward press at address. Doing this makes it nearly impossible to get enough friction on the shot and instead hit it too high on the clubface.
Start by adjusting your stance by making it more narrow at address. A narrow stance will help you not overswing on the way back. Also, you want the ball position in the middle of your stance.
Your weight should have 60% on the front leg and 40% on the back. This subtle change will make it easy to hit slightly down on the shot to create backspin.
So many amateurs keep the weight 50-50 which makes it easy to skull it over the green. And if you’re 70% on your front leg, it makes it easy to hit too down on the shot and make the ball go up and land softly.
Now that you’re setup correctly, it’s time to execute the shot. Make sure the club has a very small amount of forward press and choke up about an inch.
Next, take the club back to 9’olock on your backswing. You want to keep a consistent tempo and try to accelerate through the shot. Try to take it back straight so you can easily create a little bit of lag and not come over the top of the shot.
On the way down, your body should rotate through the swing and almost to the left of the target. You don’t want a high finish as you do with a flop shot.
Remember, to hit it high, finish high. To hit it low, finish low.
You don’t need much body rotation on the way back but you want a lot more going forward. Aim to finish with your chest facing the target.
This will allow you to compress the ball slightly and have that Jordan Spieth-esque finish. Without the body rotation through impact, it’s easy to flip it a bit early and hit the high floater.
You will know that you hit it right if you have a thin, shallow divot and the club makes a thumping sound. The ball should travel with a lower trajectory, hit twice on the green and stop quickly.
When you can pull it off, it’s one of the most rewarding shots out there.
While all of this advice is great in theory, sometimes you need to see it in a helpful video. Here’s a great video on how to hit the low spinning wedge plus a cool drill to use as well.
All you need for the drill is a pool noodle. You can do this at the range or even practicing in your garage or backyard.
Now that you know how to hit the low spinning shot, get out there and practice it. This is a delicate shot that can’t be mastered just from reading this article. Experiment with a gap or sand wedges and try it out from different distances at your local short game area.
Once you’ve trained it in practice, give it a shot on the course. Remember to always make sure the lie and pin dictate the shot. Don’t try it to look cool if you have a bad lie or a tough pin.
To have a well rounded short game. In addition to this shot, make sure you have the pitch, chip, flop, and bump & run shots in your bag.
Always play the shot that gives you the best chance of knocking it close and making the putt.