Golf Wedge Instruction by The King, Arnold Palmer

I have located this golf wedge instruction from none other than “The King” of golf, Arnold Palmer. I don’t need to add anything to it so here In his own words, Arnold Palmer:

Even though some of my fellow pros disagree with me, I’m a dedicated “wedge” man. The pitching wedge is the most versatile club in the bag and the real stroke-saver. And, there are a dozen ways you can use it, depending on how you want to play a shot. I think that a full knowledge of the use of the wedge will save you more shots than learning to hit a straight tee shot 250 yards down the fairway. I do most of my practicing with the wedge, and the person who wants to score should do most of his/her practicing with it, too.

For the short wedge pitch, I play the ball off a point opposite my left heel. I employ a short backswing, my hands never going higher than my shoulders. Taking on open stance with my left foot drawn away from the ball, I take the club back slowly and don’t cock my wrists until I’ve reached the end of the backswing. .

Although you must hit the ball firmly, you don’t put any effort into the swing. And you must not try to lift the ball into the air. Hit the ball on the downswing; the wedge will see that it gets up in the air.

For a shot that you want to get up in the air immediately after contact, move the ball forward to a point opposite the left toe and hit it the same way.

For the low wedge shot with exaggerated backspin, play the ball back off the right foot. That way you get a low-flying, whirling ball from hitting straight down at the ball. This shot is used against the wind when you don’t want the ball up in the air. The only body movement in wedge shots is a slight turn of the shoulders. The feet remain firmly planted in position.

Golf wedge instruction photos

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The feet are almost together in an open stance. The ball is opposite the left heel. The body is turned toward the hole. The wrists start to break sooner and in a more pronounced way on the wedge pitch.
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The body turn is at a minimum; the hands just go waist high. Particularly on this shot, your head must remain rigidly in place.
golf wedge instruction finish
The body turn is at a minimum; the hands just go waist high.
  • Rab Khan says:

    is it not that when ball behind the right foot would end up digging into the ground ending in a duff ball

    • Craig says:

      Hi Rab,
      That is a specialty shot that I wouldn’t recommend to most golfers but the pros like to teach all their tricks. Most of the time, I would put the middle to back-middle of my stance on chipping to increase the odds of hitting it clean. Thanks for comment,

      Greens and fairways,

  • Tommy Valdes says:

    The photos say as much as his remarks. Note the small stance, the feet closer together and the hands dropping straight down from the shoulders (i.e not extended as most beginning golfers believe). All of this adds to the feel of the shot as not being a forced swing (as he mentions in the copy as well) but rather a slower tempo that’s not dependent on a distance but accuracy. Thanks

    • Craig says:

      You’ve got it Tommy, thanks for the comment.

  • Dave Smith says:

    GREAT article, goes with the golf-ism, you lose more stokes inside 100 yards of the hole as you do getting within 100 yards of the hole!

    • Craig says:

      So why do most golfers spend more time on the range mindlessly hitting balls than where the real score improvement takes place, near the green? I keep saying in my articles that golfers don’t really want to improve their score. I’m fine with that but I think golfers should recognize that and make that choice consciously instead of fooling themselves. Thanks for comment Dave!

  • Reg says:

    A most helpful article stressing the KISS technique!

    • Craig says:

      Thanks for the comment Reg. I think that we sometimes way over-complicate the golf swings. It CAN be simple.

    • Col Vijayaraghavan says:

      All these days I have been keeping the ball in front of the right foot, feet closer, head rigid and wrist tight till wedge moves up and ready for the swing!
      I will try this tomorrow, being Sunday.
      Thanks a lot
      Col Vijayaraghavan

      • Craig says:

        Hi Col,

        How did it go? Glad I could be of help…

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