By Hannah Paramore Breen
Special to BSW
In a round of golf, most of the shots you will hit are within 100 yards of the hole. If you count 18 tee shots and allow 2 putts per hole, the average 90-shooter will have 36 shots that require a wedge. And yet most golfers spend all of their practice time slamming drives out into a field with no specific target in mind.
And then they wonder why their scores aren’t going down.
On May 13, 2017 the grand opening of Bill Breen’s Distance Wedge Range at Harpeth Valley Golf Center addressed this disparity and set the stage for a lot of fun. The range is designed to help the golfer learn to control the exact distance the ball flies. The range features 8 concrete targets, measuring 4x4 feet, each 10 yards apart starting at 30 yards and ending at 100 yards from the mat.
The goal is to hit each target before moving on to the next one, counting the number of balls it takes you as you go. And you can’t miss it when it happens. The ball takes a thrilling bounce off the concrete.
Bill has used this practice technique for years after learning it from one of his coaches, Mike Bender, a PGA member in Orlando, Florida. Mike created this technique for his student, Zach Johnson, at the end of the 2006 PGA tour season.
During Zach’s first practice on the new range, it took him 168 shots to hit all eight blocks. After many months of practice, he set his personal record by hitting all of the blocks in only 50 shots. In April 2007, Johnson laid up to a preferred wedge distance on every par 5, birdying 11 of the 16 par 5 holes to win The Masters Tournament and secure his first green Jacket. Since that time, Zach has been considered one of the best wedge players on the PGA tour.
Bill plans to use the Distance Wedge Range during his lessons with his students, but it is open to the public any time. All you have to do is purchase a small bucket of balls from the pro shop and head over to the Distance Wedge Range. It’s a perfect way to focus your practice on the most overlooked aspect of the game – and see your scores drop.
Breen Opens Wedge Range at Warpath