Work on this part of your game, says top teacher


Improving your wedge game is one key to lower scores.

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As you make progress in your game, paying close attention to your score begins to matter more and more. Milestones like breaking 100 feel like a really big deal.

But for mid-handicappers hoping to continue to improve, going from breaking 100 to breaking 90 can feel like a big leap. There’s certainly plenty of work to be done, but it can be difficult to discern what area should receive the most attention for maximum improvement.

At GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Summit at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Ariz., I asked Top 100 Teacher Tina Tombs for her advice.

“The 90-player has a lot of trouble with their wedge game,” she said. “They’re never consistent with it, and they’re uncomfortable with the finesse wedge around the green.”

woman putting

High handicappers focus way too much on this 1 thing, says Top 100 Teacher


Jessica Marksbury

Tina Tombs, Top 100 Teacher

It’s making gains in wedge play that Tombs says is the key to real improvement.

“When players get better with their wedges, they’ll break 90 and even 80,” she said. “Because I see so many people shoot 90, 95, and they’re three-putting all the time, or hitting two and three pitches when they should just need one. It comes down to learning, and adding more tools to your toolbox.”

Which wedge should you work on? Tombs is adamant that mid-handicappers shouldn’t use a higher loft than a typical sand wedge, which is between 54 and 58 degrees.

“I don’t think people who shoot 90 should have a 60-degree wedge,” she said. “I think you should wait until you can shoot in the 70s to have a 60-degree. Instead, learn what you can do with your other clubs. You don’t have to hit a Phil-Mickelson flop on a 40-yard shot. That’s why you’re shooting 90.”

For more tips from Tina Tombs, click here. Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on

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