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Tyler Ferrell is the only person in the world named to Golf Digest's list of Best Young Teachers in America AND its list of Best Golf Fitness Professionals in America. Meet your new instructor.
Swing Analysis Videos

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Analysis - Distance Wedge

The distance wedge is typically looked at as shots from 30-110 yards for most male golfers on tour. This is typically the range where it is not a full swing, but too far to judge it accurately just based on feel. According to James Sieckmann, tour golfers can generally judge the landing area to within 2 yards with proper practice and technique. In this video, we discuss a copule of the big keys to hitting these shots solid and controlling the distance. Ways to train the key movements can be found here in this section.

Playlists: Swing Analysis Videos, Master Your Distance Wedge

Tags: Pitch, Analysis, Intermediate

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In this analysis video, we're going to take a look at how the pros execute the distance

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wedge shot.

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So, we're going to look at the few major differences between the stock full swing and the

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distance wedge swing.

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The distance wedge swing is going to be much similar to the stock full swing than say the

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finesse swing, but there are some minor differences.

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So here we have Dustin Johnson and we're going to take a look at from the down line, we're

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going to take a look at the impact position and the sequencing they got him to it.

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So over on the right is his full swing and we'll take a look at the sequencing by looking

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at when the thighs are parallel to the target line.

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So he gets his thighs parallel to the target line, roughly when that left arm is parallel

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to the ground and we'll look at impact and we'll see roughly how much rotation and how

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much trail arm been.

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So how straight is that right arm and how much of his back can we see.

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So now here from the with the distance wedge.

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So you can see it's definitely not a full swing.

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You will see that his thighs get parallel right around there.

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Compare that to with his stock full swing and you can see that the stock full swing is going

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to be more lower body driven where for the distance wedge we're going to tend to use

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the whole body is kind of one unit together at the same time.

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So it'll feel compared to kind of a driver swing like it's a lot more arm based.

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So what we'll see is if we get them to impact, we can see that over on the left we don't

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see nearly as much of his lower body and we see a lot more of his trail arm straightening.

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So what we teach here in the distance wedge straight section is how to pivot your body slightly

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different so the upper body is a little bit more on top of the golf ball and the engine

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is going to be a little bit more in the shoulders and that trail arm straightening.

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So by having the arm straightened that adds a shallow element and so the upper body being

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more on top is going to balance that out with a little bit of a steep element.

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We'll look at a couple other examples from the down the line and then look at these pivot

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pivot differences from the face on.

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So now let's take a look at loop Donald former number one golfer in the world in a great

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wedge player and we'll see looking at those same two kind of checkpoints.

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We can see that the thighs get parallel pretty much between this frame and this frame.

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So again right around when that left arm is parallel to the ground.

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Or if we look at his distance wedge shot you'll see that his thighs don't get parallel until his hands

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are about waist height.

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So one of the ways I like to look at what's powering the swing is to just kind of scrub back

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and forth a few times and you'll look during transition that his arms are relatively passive and

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relaxed and you'll see that his body is very very active.

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If you look at this distance wedge through that same zone you'll see yes his hips are turning

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but you'll see that his arms are leaving his body and kind of contributing about as much as

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the hips are as far as creating speed in the club.

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So then if we get both of these swings down towards impact so we'll go just past impact to match those

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up. You'll see over on the left that there is a lot less body rotation than over on the right

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and if we get them to as close as we can get to impact you can see that there is a significant amount

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of trail arms straightening over in the one on the left. That's partly going to be due to

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this powering the swing more from the arms and partly due to or powering the swing more from the

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arms in the rib cage and partly due to the fact that there's not as nearly as much side bend

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or the upper body is more stacked and on top of the lower body.

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Now we'll take a look at one more example this is Steve Stryker largely regarded as one of the

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best wedge players on the planet and usually one of the first guys that gets mentioned any time

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you ask a tour pro about the distance wedge game. So what'll be interesting to see is that his

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full swing is a little bit more like a large distance wedge swing. So you'll see that if we look at

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that five parallel checkpoint he actually kind of matches them up and they're both closer to the

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distance wedge style of swing than they are to the full swing. If it was more like the stock

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full swing and his thighs were parallel earlier he would probably tend to struggle with the wedges.

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Now if we scrub back and forth you can still see that there's kind of a blend of arm movement

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with the body pivot where if we scrub here we'll see that it's a little bit more lower body driven

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and part of where that will really show up is if we get him pretty close to impact with both

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frames. We'll see that there is more of this lower body rotation and we'll see that that trail arm

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has more bending it with the with the driver. But I do think it's interesting to note that

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one of the best wedge players in the game who also happens to be a fairly accurate driver of the golf ball

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but not one of the longest by any stretch. His kind of stock full swing mirrors closer to the

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elements that we like to see in the in the distance wedge shot rather than everything that we would

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ultimately want to see in the stock full swing. Now from the face-selling camera we're going to be

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able to see some of this engine and sequencing stuff as well but we're also going to be able to see

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the relationship between the upper body and the lower body. We'll be able to see the amount of side

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bend the whole lot easier. So what we'll see from this wedge shot from Dustin is that as he comes

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down towards the golf ball you can see that yes this camera angle is not perfect but we can see

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that his upper body is more on top of his lower body and you can kind of see the angle of his shoulders

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as he's making contact. As a result of the shoulders being more level and powering it more with kind of

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a blend of his whole body rotating through you'll tend to see that trail arm match it and straighten

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sooner in the movement. Over here with the driver we're going to tend to see that right shoulder

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get well underneath the left as part of the upper body being well behind the lower body. As a result

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we're going to see the timing difference of when those arms straighten. So over here you can see that

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his right arm is kind of maxing out straightening right around there just before or very close to

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chef parallel to the ground. If we then switch to the wedge shot you'll see that that right arm

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is pretty straight just after impact. Again that's partly due to the sequencing issue and that's

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partly due to the positional difference of where the upper body is compared to the lower body.

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Now what you'll see if you start looking at YouTube and trying to find distance wedge shots is that

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the camera angles and the options are going to be very very slim. So if you find some great ones

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please send me some links. What we're going to look at here is that timing movement that we were

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seeing with Dustin. Now we know the one over on the left isn't a great camera angle. It's more like

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45 it's not even close to straight but what we'll be able to see is that timing of that trail arm

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straightening. So as we kind of go through you can see that his arms are getting fairly straight just

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after impact. So you can see kind of between these two is when that right arm is maxing out and then

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it just kind of rides the moment of the club through the rest of the release. If we look over here on the

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driver what we'll see is if we max out that elbow it's right about there so again similar to what

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we were seeing with Dustin where it's just short of parallel to the ground. You'll also be able to see

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if we had a true face on view that his upper body is much more on top of his lower body and everything

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has kind of rotated together. So as we talk a lot about the blend of steepest in shallows

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because the upper body is going to be more on top with the distance wedge swing that's a steepening

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so we're going to have to add a shallowing element to get a similar path for both shots. So what

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will end up happening is we will straighten that trail elbow to then balance out the difference

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in the position of the upper body. So now we'll take a look at loop Donald from the face on view

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and it'll be very apparent to see a couple of these relationship and positional differences.

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So one of the things that I want to key on is if we looked at where his upper body is and to make it

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really clear we'll put the line on the back of the golf ball just like so. Now this is trusting a

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decent camera angle but what you'll see is that his upper body moves forward during transition

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which is totally normal and then it tends to go more vertical or post up. You don't see a whole

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lot of backing up and you'll see that his arms upper body and pelvis kind of rotate through together.

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We're over here on the right if we're looking at the driver we will see that his upper body is

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well behind that line and yes it has kind of a similar little upper body shift during that transition

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phase but then what you'll see is as he goes into the release in addition to going up you'll see that

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his upper body and his head end up working away from the target. That helps to create this good

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um axis till to help us create a flat or upward strike with the with the driver. As a result of

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the timing and the positioning what you'll see is that as his arms extend you'll see that his body

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is all is almost stalling a little bit or bracing. There's not nearly as much of a brace in the distance

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where everything is kind of rotating through together. That rotating through together helps really

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control the bottom of the swing and the hand path as you release the club.

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So as you work on your distance wedge game you're going to be able to include a lot of the

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things that you learn in the stockful swing but it's important to recognize that while trying to get a

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really good path is important you'll see that with the distance wedge the golfers are going to

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tend to create that really good path or similar to path to what they're doing in the stock swing

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in a different way or with a different sequencing. Where if we get Steve Strikker here to impact

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we can see that there are very different body positions we can see that the amount of

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straightening or the timing of the straightening for the trail arm is very different. Those two are going

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to be the biggest factors as far as taking your stockful swing and using it to build your

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distance wedge swing. If you are normally pretty good at distance wedges and you struggle with

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the driver then you know that you're going to have to work on getting the timing of your arms to be

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later and powering it more with your lower body and creating more of this access to while still

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keeping a good face to path relationship. Conversely if you're a really good driver the golf ball

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but you hit a lot of fat shots with your distance wedges there's a very good chance that you're

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powering your distance wedges too much with your lower body getting too much access to and having

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too late of a timing for the arms. Now you're going to have to make little adjustments so that you can

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get a good face to path with these different timings but ultimately that's what builds the

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capability to to go from your driver to your mid irons and down to your distance wedges. In this

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section we will focus mostly on the positioning, sequencing and timings and movements of the distance

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wedge shot.

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