By Lana Ortega
The pitch shot is a short shot used anywhere from about 10 -
100 yards from the green.
It’s a shot that spends more time in the air, and
less time on the ground.
If you consider that the leading greens in regulation for
the LPGA Tour and the PGA Tour is 13 and 12 respectively,
you realize the importance of accuracy in partial shots
around the green for the recreational golfer.
In order to save par, we must have the ability to
control the distance and trajectory of our pitch shots to
stop the ball close to the flagstick.
Up A Partial Wedge Shot:
sand wedge for most pitch shots.
The sand wedge has more loft than your pitching wedge
and will hit the ball higher and with more spin.
There are just a few adjustments to your regular full
swing set-up to hit a partial wedge, or pitch shot.
Grip down on the club about an inch for greater
control and stand an inch loser to the ball.
Adjust the width of your stance to match the distance
you need for the shot. Take
a relatively narrow stance to hit the ball a short distance
and take a progressively wider stance as the distance of the
shot increases. Position
the ball just left of the center of your stance with your
weight evenly distributed.
Position your hands just slightly ahead of the ball.
This will help you create an impact position where
your hands lead the clubhead into the hitting area with a
slightly descending angle.
Good pitchers of the ball have minimal leg action on the
backswing, using their arms to create the length and
leverage necessary for the shot.
On the forward swing, however, the body unwinds to
the target as the arms swing the club, keeping it in front
of the body. The
key is to get your arms and body to work together.
Poor pitchers reverse the process by using too much
body action going back and have “dead” legs on the
forward swing, leaving the hands and arms to manipulate the
Let the club work down into the ground through the hitting
area as your body unwinds to the target.
This produces the correct impact position where ball
is contacted first, and a slight divot occurs on the target
side of the golf ball. Good
pitchers never let the clubhead flip by their hands.
This makes the clubhead travel too level into the
ball and the “scooping” action with the hands and wrists
can produce fat and thin shots.
You should finish with your weight on the left side
and your belt buckle pointing at the target.
Right Length With Even Rhythm
length of your swing should be appropriate for the distance
of the shot. A
short pitch requires a short swing, and a longer pitch a
longer swing with equal distance back and through.
Not only should your swing be an even length back and
through, but it should have even rhythm as well.
For example, it’s very difficult to have even
rhythm when your backswing is too long, and you decelerate
on the forward swing to keep from hitting the ball too far.
Properly To Control Distance:
3 important keys to practicing pitch shots: 1) When you’re
at the range, be sure to practice pitches to different
distances; 2) it’s important to know the distance of the
pitch you’re practicing; 3) when you practice a pitch to a
certain distance, you get a feel for how the length and pace
of your swing matches the distance you hit the ball.
When you’re faced with a pitch shot on the course,
determine the yardage, then use your practice experience to
produce the correct distance every time.