The biggest mistake in hitting a wedge shot is thinking you have to make a small, slow swing to make the ball go a short distance. By a short distance, I mean anywhere from 10 to up to 60 yards. The wedges are considered your ‘scoring clubs’ – that is, you will use these clubs a lot to get up and down from the greenside bunker, or from off the green, or from a short distance away from the middle of the fairway. The wedges are: the pitching wedge, the sand wedge and the lob wedge. Are you making a full swing with your wedge? No, maybe a 3/4 swing at most, but you need to learn how to control your distances with these wedges. How do you control the distance? By NOT swinging your arms slower or faster — the distance control is determined by how far you swing back and by NOT trying to swish the arms but by TURNING THROUGH with your body. You must accelerate the club through the hitting area by shifting your weight back to your front leg and turning through to a finish. If you start the downswing with your hands/arms first, then you risk hitting the ground behind the ball and/or flipping your wrists into the ball – either you will take took much dirt behind the ball or you will ‘skull’ the ball – like a line drive.
Practice take a half swing (club parallel to ground with wrists hinged), then starting your downswing by turning through and keeping your spine angle. Do not try to help the ball up! You do the opposite – you want to feel as if you want the ball to stay low as if hitting under a low rope that is knee high. The motion shifting to your front leg and turning through, along with the loft of the club, will make the ball go up into the air.
Remember: do not stop to hit the ball; move through the ball to a full finish.