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Tip Tuesday: Learn from a Tour Pro’s Approach to Finesse Wedge Training

In the first part of his new instructional series on wedge training, Classic Swing Golf School's Ted Frick is joined by LPGA Tour player Haylee Harford to demonstrate how the “throw and flow” training method is used to help with wedge play around the green.



Ted Frick:

All right, so we're here today. We're going to do another series. I hope you get to watch all the tips. We're going to start out with how we train, and what we're doing here today first off, we're going to go and acknowledge here at the Classic Swing Golf School (and training with our LPGA Tour player) the two books that we utilize for finesse wedge training, shots that are inside of 30 yards. Right here, the pioneer, Mr. Dave Pelz, all the analytics and all the stats, Short Game Bible. Around 2017, I was honored to be exposed and to meet this gentleman, Mr. James Sieckmann, he wrote this book, Your Short Game Solution. All of his wealth and knowledge came from studying Seve Ballesteros.

So we took these books and came up with a plan. We used this book to design our plan so it's organized, and we're going to start with showing y'all one of our training tools, which is called block training. So Haylee, just real gentle, if you're out there on tour with Reed, you have 30 minutes to do some short game work around the green, and you're like, “I need to do some trajectory work. I need to do some landing area work,” what is block training in your world?

Haylee Harford:

So block training for me is just dedicating not more than even 15 minutes of just solely focused on mechanics, my technique, making sure all my alignments and setup are correct, and I get that just based off of feedback from playing or what I think I need to work on.

And so part of my daily plan is just sitting down in the morning and being like, “Okay, this is what I want to make sure I'm hitting on and the correct movements I'm doing.” So just spending a couple minutes not even hitting to targets and just going through slow motions or doing drills that could apply to helping me in that area.

Ted Frick:

All right, so let us go and explain what a finesse shot looks like. So in the sequence in a finesse shot, what you're going to see, what's going to be revealed through all the tips is, we're not looking for power. We're actually trying to just regulate control. So it's going to be a lot more of an arm motion where the body's just supporting the motion.

Here's the research that they found out. In a power move, they know that in the sequence the hips are the power generator. When we're doing a finesse wedge, the lower body is just supporting and stabilizing, so it's a lot more arms with the upper body just carrying the arms to the finish. Why don't you make a couple right-arm-only swings.

Terminology you've probably heard from the past from Classic Swing instructors doing tips when we're doing a chip shot around the green is “shake, toss and turn.” So in a shake, toss and turn world, what Haylee is doing in the backstroke is she's just letting her right hand rotate to open the face of the club, but in the downswing she's tossing and throwing the club head.

So in a finesse shot, the club head in the downstroke begins to move first. The hips are not moving first. The shoulders are not moving first. The right arm is actually beginning to release that club head first, and I'm going to give you just a simple picture. If I was just going to pick up this ball right here and just toss it onto the green, what I'm going to do with my lower body is just support the motion. My right arm is going to toss the ball. My shoulders aren't tossing it. My arm is going to toss the ball, but then my shoulders are going to help carry my arm into the finish.

So let's go over the setup here real quick. So with our alignment sticks, the orange alignment stick is our line of flight. You're going to notice the purple alignment stick, it's slightly open. So Haylee's toe line is open. Her chest and shoulder line are open in a finesse shot relative to the target line. What she's going to do in the setup here is she's going to put about 80 percent of her pressure forward of the golf ball. The golf ball is slightly back to center, so this is our ball position stick, our flight line stick, and our stance line stick.

With 80 percent of her pressure forward, she's just going to throw the orbiting club head and let her body flow to the finish. We call this “throw and flow.” So the finesse shot wedges you're going to see here is going to be support from the lower body, a lot of arm motion, shots inside of 30 yards where the chest and the shoulders carry Haylee right into the finish. This is one of our favorite drills here because it teaches release.