When laying up to wedge distance, Jim Thorpe tries to leave himself a full swing because, he says, "That's when you're at your best." Indeed, leaving yourself a full swing is important, but another successful approach wedge is getting on top of the ball—not under it—by striking with a descending angle of attacks.
This steep angle generates a lot of spin, ensuring that the ball will stop dead on the green, like both of Thorpe's approaches to the 18th hole on Sunday at the Tradition. Address the ball with a narrow and slightly open stance, shift your weight toward the target, and be sure your sternum is aligned slightly ahead of the ball (A). During the backswing keep your weight shifted toward the target and keep your sternum parallel to or slightly ahead of the ball (B). Doing this helps you make crisp contact. On the downswing maintain the angle of the right wrist you had at the top of the backswing as long as possible (C) and drive through the ball. Also, just before impact your hands should be ahead of the ball. A final tip: Learn the maximum distance you can hit each wedge by blasting buckets of balls at full power. Even Jim Thorpe has to hone his feel at the range.