Ever heard of the clockface theory? Let Justin Rose be our guest...
The World No.4 likes to imagine his arms are the hands on a clock and a different length of swing controls the length of the shot. Other golfers prefer to vary hand position and ball position to control the length of shot but Rose is convinced that simplicity is the key.
"As a general rule I don’t alter the position of the ball in my stance with my wedges. For lob wedge and sand wedge, I tend to position the ball in the middle of my stance or just a tiny bit forward of centre. The reason I keep it the same is that I like to vary the swing and the club selection to change trajectory and distance.
"My view is that you need to keep one variable the same in order to be able to trust the other variable. For example my nine o’clock hand position with a lob wedge (taking my hands back to equivalent to horizontal on the clockface) will hit the ball 50 yards. A 10 o’clock position (hands just above horizontal) will hit it 72 yards.
"If I’m aggressive with the shot, the nine o’clock lob wedge goes 60 yards while the 10 o’clock goes 82 yards. For me it’s a very reliable way of controlling distance."
Rose says practice is the key to this approach and the benefits are obvious. He says you will soon be able to work out exactly how far you hit each club with a different length of swing.
The South African born Englishman also claims the central ball position is crucial to maximising a good strike.
"When I stand at address, the bottom of the swing arc and the point of contact needs to be exactly right. A ball position at the centre of the body, level with my sternum, gives me the best chance, as it’s naturally where the club bottoms out.
"If there are extreme conditions, like a 40 mph wind, I start putting the ball back in my stance and ‘squeezing’ the shot out (nipping the club between ball and turf). Anything less than that and I keep the ball in the same position, take more club (perhaps full wedge or 9-iron) and hit half a swing. I think you get the most consistent strike like that.
"If it’s 100 yards to the flag and you hit your sand wedge, say 100 yards, but it’s into the wind, don’t just think ‘I’ll hit my sand wedge but put it back in my stance and crush it.’ Take a pitching wedge and make a three quarter swing."
Do you have a practice routine when it comes to the wedges and those delicate pitch shots? Share your thoughts in the forum below.
Originally published June 2006, updated May 2013.