Keys To Winning The U.S. Open At Pebble Beach - #3 Have A Good Wedge Game


Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , , , , , , | Posted on Saturday, June 19, 2010

The third aspect of the game that Michael Breed talked about as a key to being successful this weekend is having a good wedge game. A good wedge game is very important at Pebble Beach especially is you miss the fairway off the tee. The pros at this years playing of the 110th U.S. Open are facing some of the toughest rough they will see all season. Any errant shot into the long grass disappears.

The course actually played easier during the second round. There was a marine layer that settled over the layout and kept the grass moist which slowed the greens down a little bit. Approach shots were easier to stop on the surface from the fairway, but when shots missed the green, the players often found it hard to get it up and down.

The greens are very tricky at Pebble Beach. There are many different tiers and undulations that make reading the breaks and the pace an absolute nightmare, often leaving players hanging their heads low. If you fail to make the green in regulation, bogey is almost inevitable.

Paul Casey found out how difficult it is to get up and down with a wedge, even when he was in the fairway. Casey took an 8 on the par-five 14th when he pitched onto the green short, and watched the ball roll back to where he had originally played the shot. He then hit his next pitch over the back edge, leaving another difficult wedge shot back up onto the green. Three putts later, he had a snowman on his card.

Pebble Beach requires that you hit pinpoint areas on the green in order to get it close. When you miss this areas you pay the price. Most of us will not face conditions as difficult at our local course, but it is still necessary to get good with the wedges.

As amateurs, we have a lower percentage of greens in regulation. This means that we rely more on shots from 100 yards and in, to try and save par. If you practice your wedge game, you will definitely save more pars. Getting it close from just off the surface, takes some of the pressure off of your putting.

The player that wins the U.S. Open is the one who can get up and down when they are in trouble. The goal on this course is to keep the mistakes to a minimum. There are few holes that the pros will be able to attack with confidence. Escaping with par and then sneaking a few birdies in here and there gives them a chance at the championship.

If the sun comes out for the third round look for the winds to start blowing and the greens to firm up. This will make shots into and around the greens even more difficult. Regardless it should make for interesting play.

The following videos gives us some great tips to playing the wedges effectively. Practice these shots and you will start to see your scores improve. Have a good one and always hit your target.

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