Most of my students who come for short-game lessons have the problem of the club digging into the ground or thinning the ball across the green. They don’t know the correct release point of their wedges to get that tour level strike. We have all been told to put the ball back in the stance and get the shaft leaning forward.
This creates a steep angle of attack getting you to hit down (which is great if you can strike the ball perfectly), but it leaves no margin for error and the common mistake is to drive the leading edge into the ground. Even a good strike doesn’t get the spin control!
Getting the correct shaft lean at impact is therefore going to determine how the sole of the club interacts with the ground and will determine quality of strike. I like to think of the correct set up is when the top of the handle points at the belt loop left of your belt buckle and place the ball into the centre of my feet. This creates the correct and natural amount of shaft lean for your clubhead and sets the bounce of the club correctly.
At impact I want to return the club handle into the same position (belt loop focal point) and let the sole of the club release passed the handle. This creates much better contact, loft, spin control and eventually allow you to develop better distance control.
I see a much higher success rate from students who are shallow and use the bounce rather than too steep and dig the leading edge so therefore excessive forward shaft lean is a real death move when it comes to the short-game.
THE CROSS HANDED DRILL
Switch your hands around on the grip so right hand is at the top then take your thumb off the handle. Place you left hand below your right and slide it up until it feels snuggled in.
Make a few small swings with this grip as it will feel very strange to begin with, but it will immediately give you the feedback that you must release the clubhead and cannot drag the handle into excessive shaft lean. Try letting the club strike the ground a few times before hitting some small shots. This drill will create the awareness of perfect arm and wrist movements and correct release point.
After a while, you’ll begin to notice how the handle remains pointing at your belt loop even in the ﬁnish.