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The Half Wedge
Phil Mickelson

One of my goals heading into this season was to sharpen my game from 100 yards and in. Within that range, the 30- to 60-yard shot -the half-wedge executed with less than a full swing-needed special attention.

This is one area of the game where I wanted to maintain an aggressive approach, to go for virtually every flagstick. But with course set-ups on the PGA Tour getting more difficult, with more tucked pins and holes cut closer to the edges of the greens, I needed to be more precise.

I worked hard at improving my control of distance, trajectory and spin. The effort has really paid off. Right now, there's no pin I can't go at without full confidence in my ability to get the ball close.

Many amateurs find the half-wedge shot to be awkward, and when sand or water are involved, downright scary. If you tend to hit the ball fat or thin, can't decide how big a swing you should make, or find yourself coming up long or short, try my system.

It will erase your fear and give you the consistency and control you've been looking for.

Swing Aggressively

I don't think of the 60-yard shot as a 'short' shot. I generate as much speed through impact as my restricted backswing will comfortably allow. I want to swing with a tempo that is nice and brisk. That's the type of swing you make on full shots and the one you're most likely to execute with good timing and the correct sequence of movement.

Remember, "short and aggressive" is better than "long and lazy".

3 Things You Never Want To Do

Learn to 'hinge and hold'

Throughout the downswing and into the follow-through, try to maintain the same degree of wrist cock you established on the backswing. You can't help but unhinge your wrists to some extent, but your goal is to avoid getting too handsy. The 'hinge-and-hold' technique will help you to make solid contact.

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