Lord Byron‘s event at TPC Four Seasons always attracts a stellar field as the PGA TOUR’s finest travel to the Lone Star State to pay homage to one of golf’s greatest champions and finest men.
The course layout is demanding from tee to green and play is normally defined by the warm and gusty North Texas winds. Hence it is those players who can flight the ball and control their shot trajectory (and make putts) who normally prevail around the firm and fast course conditions. This year, however, a band of severe Wednesday night thunderstorms changed the personality of the course and the first round became a birdie-fest with Keegan Bradley leading the assault on par with a 10-under 60.
The winds kicked up over the next three rounds and scoring became tougher. In the end it boiled down to a battle between the two members of the final Sunday pairing, Sang-Moon Bae and Bradley.
Both combatants were tied at 12 under as they headed up the par-5 16th. After getting their second shots into position, Bae faced an uphill pitch from about 40 yards and Bradley faced a pitch of about 50 feet from right of the green. Bae drove a low-spinning wedge into the green which gripped and spun back to about 5 feet from the cup. Not to be outdone, the gusty Bradley clipped a low and aggressive spinning wedge shot to just inside of his playing partner. Both shots were absolutely gorgeous and certainly worth learning how to play.
How to play the low, spinning wedge shot:
This shot starts at address. Move the ball back to around the middle of the stance and favor your lead foot (left for right-handers) as you set the bulk of your weight there. Lean the shaft slightly to the left (for righties) as you set your hands a little ahead of the clubface and the ball.
As you make your backswing, hinge your wrists up to steepen the shaft plane which will assist you to make a crisp, descending strike. It is recommendable to make a slightly shorter backswing as this will give you the freedom to accelerate through impact without the fear of the shot going too far.
Begin your downswing by rotating your lower body back to the left and swing your arms down through impact with the lead arm closer to the body and the left hand leading the clubface through impact. That lead hand should retain control of the action throughout the delivery so that the trail hand does not shut down the clubface. Once contact has been made, swing and extend the arms past the body into a shorter, balanced follow-through. Once again, the lead arm and hand should dominate the delivery and holding the club a little tighter with the last three fingers of the left hand will certainly help.
Get out and practice this shot; it will surely shave strokes off your score.
Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.