Did you know that the average distance from the hole to the hole between 50-75 yards in the 2021 PGA Tour Season was 25 feet, five inch?
It is hard to believe, but it is true. Here are the stats for the PGA Tour Website to prove it.
It’s very hard to believe that they don’t get closer in proximity from such a short range. But that goes to show, this distance isn’t easy, even for the best of the best golfers on the planet.
Ideally, you would never leave yourself this distance as it’s so challenging. Golf is not a game where perfection is possible. You will still find yourself at this distance from time-to-time. To help you hit it closer and take the fear out of this shot, let’s get into it.
How to Hit a Wedge Shot 50-75 Yards
Chances are you’ve asked a coach or solid player you golf with, “How do you hit a 50 yard wedge?”
It’s a good question because the 50-75 yard range is a challenging shot, even for scratch golfers and professionals. Heck, I’m a scratch player myself but remember struggling with this shot myself and have a specific memory that still sticks with me.
In a one day qualifier, I found myself at this awkward distance on my first hole. My tee shot hit the fairway bunker, and I managed to hit a decent 7 iron out of the sand. However, I was only 60 yards from the front pin. There was water long too but not in play… or so I thought.
I didn’t know where to start. Do I bump it high or do I go low? Do I spin it high and go low?
I only remember decelerating on the downswing, thinning my shot in the water, making double bogey to begin the round (on a par 5). Needless to say, I didn’t advance in the qualifier.
I saw my coach the following week and asked him how to hit it. His reply was, “Play smarter so you don’t have that distance… especially to a front pin.”
The truth hurts and he’s 100% right. My second shot was a poor example of course management. I was left with a difficult pin position and a very long distance. We worked together on the shot and I learned from it.
As you know, weird stuff happens on the golf course as you know so it’s important to learn how to hit this shot so you’re prepared for anything. Here’s the step-by-step guide to playing the 50-75 yard shot.
Step 1: Evaluate the shot
Before you commit to a target or club, the first step to learning how to hit a wedge shot 50-75 yards is to assess the shot. This is the basic shot strategy.
Here are five things you should think about. Total Distance, pin position and lie. Green conditions and wind.. Each factor will influence the type and location of the shot.
Do not skip this step. It can feel like a lot of analysis for such a small shot, but it is essential to be able to confidently swing your wedge shot.
Before choosing a club, use your rangefinder to determine the distance to the flag. Depending on the pin position, get your number to either the front or the back of the green.
You now have the pin number as well as the distance to the front and back of the green.
Next, you will need to determine where the pin is on the green. It dictates the club and landing place.
For example, let’s say you have 65 yards to go to a back pin. How much space do you have to the green at the back? If you’re in a tournament, this is easy to figure out with a pin sheet. If not, take your best guess as you’re close enough to the green you should be able to take an educated guess.
As you can play multiple shots, a middle or backpin is often easier to reach. While a front pin is the most challenging since you won’t get a ton of spin. Since you’re hitting a half or three quarter shot, you won’t get nearly the type of spin as you would with a full swing wedge.
Once you have established your distances, one to the pin and one towards the front or back on the green, you can begin to evaluate your lie. Your lie is crucial in deciding what type of shot you want to hit and where the ball should land.
If you’re in the fairway cut of grass, you will get the most spin and the shot will be easier to make solid contact. If you’re in the rough, you will need to swing harder (depending on how deep the rough length) and won’t get as much spin in the 50 to 75 yards range.
Don’t forget about the greens themselves either as the conditions dictate your landing spot. Are they fast and firm? Or are they more flexible and slow?
If the greens are firm, fast, then you can use them. might need to play more bounce and forward spin. The shot is easier if the greens have soft greens.
Last but not least, double-check the wind.
If you’re hitting into the wind, the shot is easier as it’ll stop quickly. But if you’re hitting downwind, the ball will bounce forward more as you don’t get as much spin.
Once you do your due diligence in assessing the shot, it’s time to pick the target and club to make it happen.
Step 2 – Choose the Right Shot and the Golf Club
Choose Your Shot
Once you have all the details to analyze the shot, it’s time to pick one shot and commit. Do you want to hit it high or medium?
These five factors should guide you. Here are some examples of how to play different types shots.
- Front pin, downwind, stable conditionsThis is the longest shot at 50-75 yards. Try to place the ball near the pin to ensure it releases to the middle. This isn’t the time to get cute and leave it short of the green.
- No wind, middle pin, soft conditions: It is easier to make a middle pin if you have some green. You can take a high LW and when the greens are soft, it shouldn’t roll more than a few feet once it hits the green. You can also take a lower lofted, or SW, wedge and place it on the front. Then release it back to pin.
- Back pin, no wind, medium conditions: I prefer to use a lower approach when attempting to land a back pin. I aim to land it in the middle. A higher approach shot isn’t ideal to a back pin and can result in missing long which is short siding yourself. Use a SW or GW instead. It makes the shot much easier and allows for more error margins.
Pick the Right Edge
If you’re like most golfers, you probably think that you should automatically hit LW from this distance. Since it’s inside 75 yards, you don’t need much club… right?
Wrong. Sure, sometimes a LW is the right play from this distance, especially if you’re short sided and don’t have much green to work with. You can also try this if the greens seem hardy and not very responsive.
But you shouldn’t hit LW 100% of the time for a few reasons.
First, a lob wedge isn’t the easiest club to hit consistently. While it’s the shortest club in the bag, it’s easy to hit it high on the face due to the loft unless you have perfect form. That’s why I don’t even recommend this club to someone who can’t break 90 yet.
Second, I don’t recommend the average golfer to hit a “hard” LW for a few yards extra. Meaning, if you hit it 80 yards full, don’t try to hit one 85 or 90 yards. It can throw off your tempo, and can cause poor contact and big misses.
Plus, if you do hit it perfectly when you try to “step on” a wedge, it’s going to spin a lot. This extra spin could land near the pin, but then suckback or completely off the green.
Instead, the play is to use a smaller club such as an SW and take a half-swing. It’s almost always better to hit a SW, choke up, and take a shorter, half swing. The ball will fly down, so it should be hit once and then bounce before stopping.
For a more consistent game, play the percentages with partial shots!
Step 3: Confirm the Carry Distance and Landing Location
Once you have your shot and wedge, confirm the distance and landing spot. Please remember, your distance isn’t the distance to the flag.
You must play to get the golf ball to release, especially at short range.
Since you won’t spin a golf ball as much from 40 or 50 yards, you need to anticipate the ball to roll out 5-10 (or more) feet. For example, if you have a 65 yard shot, the number you want to confirm to yourself might be “59 or 60 yards.”
The more you can swing a golf club full swing, the more you’ll get spin!
After you have picked your number, locate a spot or an area where you want to hit the ball. This will help you to visualize where the ball should land.
Many golfers focus on the flagstick and not the pin and end up hitting it too hard. When in reality, it’s confusing to the mind as you’re focusing on the pin, not your landing spot.
Find something, a ridge or dark or light colored spot of grass, or a shadow. The better your mind can see, the clearer it will be. Remember, 25 feet is the average for elite players so don’t feel like you have to force it to a tucked pin either.
Step 4 – Nail Your Pre-Shot Routine
The pre-shot routine is one of the most important parts of any shot in golf; whether it’s a pitching wedge or any golf club. This is especially true for tricky shots such as this one, which can be intimidating wedge shots. It’s vital that you go through your routine and rehearse the shot with your practice swing.
Clip the grass as you would a swing. Pick your target, then focus on it and execute the shot.
What is my final piece of advice for you?
Accelerate throughout the shot. So many golfers decelerate from short range which leads to chunking or skulling it over the green.
Don’t forget, speed equals spin (and solid contact) which you need both to hit a wedge shot well. Be committed to the shot, and hit it with conviction
Step 5: Practice at the Driving Range
Practice is the best way to learn how to hit wedge shots 50-75 yards. I’ve found this type of shot is one of the first to go after a break from the game so make sure it’s something you incorporate into your practice routine.
It’s hard to put the golf bag in the garage for a few months and still expect to pull it off. You should hit a lot of balls to have more options and better control on the course.
You can read more about the differences between a wedge swing and an iron swing by clicking here
You now have the mindset for hitting these shots. Now you need some mechanics. Let’s get into it…
How do I hit a 50 yard wedge with my hammer?
50 yards isn’t an easy shot as it’s not a full club distance for pretty much any golfer. Since it’s more like a half or three quarter swing, it’s harder to generate spin and get it close to the hole. But remember, the goal isn’t always to get to tap in, as the pros don’t even hit it that close consistently.
Instead, aim to hit a high percentage shot. Try to stay within 25 feet (the PGA Tour’s average). It is not a good idea to miss the green at this distance and lose shots from close quarters.
Here are two options for the 50 yard shot. Open club faces add more variables, which I believe makes the shot a lot more difficult.
Option 1: Front Pin, High shot
As I mentioned earlier, the front pin is the most difficult pin position at short range.
You want it to be close to the hole. It will release depending on the green speed. Do not try to land it short of the green in the rough and “hope” it will bounce up!
Always play the highest percentage shot, which is landing it onto the green. Here’s how to hit the 50-yard shot:
- One inch of your most lofted wedge should be tapped.
- To help your weight drop, you can place 60-70% of the weight on your leading foot.
- To promote a higher flight of the ball, keep your ball position off your frontfoot.
- Slowly clench your wrists on the backswing, and then take a shorter swing to make room for the shorter distance.
- Finish with a high following through to promote a higher flight of the ball. The launch should make landings easier.
If you find yourself in this situation, take your medicine (aka middle of the green), and move on. Don’t try to force it and get too cute by leaving it short as you invite a big number on the scorecard.
Option 2: Middle or Back pin
It is easier to play a middle or back pin from 50 yards. Some players prefer to use the approach of a front pin, but they move the ball slightly back in their stance. Some golfers prefer to hit it lower with a 56 degree wedge.
It is entirely up to you. My only advice is to be 100% committed to the shot, landing spot, and your choice. To get your mind and body on the right page, practice swings that are similar to your upcoming swing.
How do you chip 75 yards of grass?
If you have a lot of green to work with, sometimes “chipping” it is better than a full swing. Pitching shots like this give you great distance control. A pitching wedge is often easier to hit shots with than a higher lofted club.
For example, let’s say you have 75 yards to the pin but the front of the green is only 45 yards. There are many ways to play this shot. One example is a bump and run, which can be used from a greater distance.
I believe the higher percentage play is going lower, so the shot releases like an putt. It’s always a good idea to keep the ball low to the ground and get it rolling on the green.
You might try a GW/PW for this shot. It has lower loft. This will lower the ball and make it easier for you to spin it forward and have it release to a backpin. If you’re more of an advanced golfer, you can opt for an LW or SW but if contact isn’t great, you’ll have a much longer putt.
If you take the low route, you should choke up on the club and get closer to the address. Move the ball to your center or just back from the center of your stance.
Take a half swing at waist height on the way back, and then through. This should result in a low-flying shot with less spin that releases to the back pin.
To get comfortable and test the trajectory, make sure you hit these shots on your driving range before you head to the green.
How do you hit a 70-yard wedge?
A 70-yard wedge shot can be much easier than a 50- or 60-yard shot. A 70 yard shot for most golfers is about a full-lob wedge distance, so it doesn’t differ much from a normal stroke.
You might choose to go with a GW instead if you have wind or a difficult pin position. Since your lob wedge is meant to go high, it’s not always a great option to hit it into the wind as it’ll likely end up short.
How can you hit wedges within 100 yards?
It is essential to know your distances. Many golfers have a vague idea of the distances between each club and don’t know how to calculate them. This makes it difficult to score well on the course.
Step one is to use an app or launch monitor to track how far each club has been hit. You can then create a benchmark to help you decide which club to use on the course.
For example, let’s say you hit LW 75 yards and SW 95 yards. For 85 yards, you should choke up and hit your sand wedge. If it’s 60 yards, follow the advice above, choke up on the LW, and hit your shot.
Knowing your distances is crucial to playing great golf and scoring well within 100 yards.
How far can pros hit their wedges with ease?
Pro golfers can hit wedge shots in a variety ways and from a variety distances. But for reference’s sake, this Trackman study found the average PGA distance of PW is 136 yards. Sadly, they don’t include distances for other wedges like LW, SW, or GW.
But the point is that distance doesn’t matter with wedges. You should play the right club to get it close, whether it’s a pitching wedge or LW. To improve trajectory control and spin, PGA players love to hit half-swing shots.
Don’t feel like you have to use one club always or take a full swing on every wedge shot! To practice hitting the balls on the range, you can find a consistent shot using a wedge that you are comfortable with on the course.
Does the clock work?
Phil Mickelson says no and he’s the king of wedges in my opinion. Why is he so opposed to this system for tricky in-between yards?
Because he believes the clock method promotes acceleration. In theory, it’s a great idea to chop up a normal swing into hands on a clock. The clock method assumes that you have perfect timing and tempo. This is not the case for most golfers.
Acceleration can also be promoted by a partial wedge shot, which has a shorter swing on its way back. This is what you need to hit a wedge consistently and faster than the clock system. You will always create speed through your shot.
How can I do better at 100 yards?
I’m convinced you can’t practice your short game enough.
You can learn how to hit a wedge shot from 50 to 75 yards, or you just want to have a few more shots. Spend more time within 100 yards.
Spend more time practicing to learn how to hit shorter shots. You should take the time to try out different wedges, trajectories and distances.
The 50 to 75 yard shot is not the easiest but it’s achievable with the right strategy and shot selection. Remember what my coach said? “Don’t leave yourself this distance if possible.”
Your course management skills will allow you to lay the ball closer for a chip shot or full-swing wedge. This should make it easier for you to get the ball close to your goal and allow you to putt it.
Also, don’t feel like you need to try to stick every wedge shot from this distance to close range. Even PGA pros can only hit it to 25.5 feet from the flag. These are the best golfers in the world, playing the best greens and using brand-new wedges that fit perfectly.
You should be congratulating yourself if you reach this distance and are within 25 feet.