Often times amateur golfers confuse a pitch shot and a chip shot. In simple terms a pitch shot can be described as the shot that falls into the category between a chip shot and a full wedge shot.
Pitch shots have a couple of important key factors, but distance control and good smooth rhythm are the 2 key areas that stand out. In order to get consistently good at pitching, it is important to spend time on it during practice sessions.
Some of the best pitchers on the PGA Tour have exceptional feel, and the only way to develop that is through practice.
Practice is important, but to practice correctly is more important.
Keep these 5 tips in mind the next time you go and work on your pitching, it will definitely save you a couple of shots per round and change your whole game in the process.
- Feet slightly open in relation to the target
- Hinge wrist on the backswing, hold off clubface on downswing
- Accelerate through impact
- Distance control clock
- The importance of a good shoulder turn
5 Golf Pitching Tips for Better Short Game Play
#1: Feet slightly open in relation to the target
Setup is very important with any golf shot, and it is no different when hitting a pitch shot.
A slight open stance is best when pitching, standing slightly open will promote a swing path that is a touch out to in.
Having an out to in swing path will allow the club to cut across the ball, resulting in backspin and pitches that come to a quick stop once the ball hits the green.
#2: Hinge wrist on the backswing, hold off clubface on downswing
During the full swing a wrist hinge occurs in the backswing, during the downswing the club releases through impact.
With pitching, the back swing remains the same, but the downswing technique is slightly different. In order to get height and spin it is important to hold off the club face during impact.
Holding off the clubface will maintain loft on the club, and the absence of releasing the club will ensure backspin on the ball.
Holding off the club might also feel like you are holding the clubface open, every player is different and will find a feeling that works best for them.
This might sound complicated but once you try it during practice it will feel a lot easier to do on a consistent basis.
#3: Accelerate through impact
Good smooth rhythm is extremely important for consistent pitching. Distance control is a big component of pitching and thus solid impact is key.
There are different factors that contribute to a solid strike, but the most important factor is acceleration through the hitting area.
If you don’t get that crisp strike when hitting a pitch shot, make sure your club is accelerating smoothly through impact.
#4: Distance control clock
Distance control is the most important aspect of pitching. When a player hits a full shot they have a good idea of how far they can fly the ball through the air, but with pitching you aren’t taking a full swing.
With that being said the easiest way to determine how far the ball goes when you swing a certain way is to practice the clock method.
A longer backswing will result to more distance and vice versa. In order to have different shots for different distances…first find out how far a full shot with your lob wedge goes.
If a full shot flies 70 yards, then you will need to be able to hit a pitch that goes either 40,50 or 60 yards. Imagine the image of a clock with you as the golfer in the middle of the clock. See photo below as example.
On average a full swing will be a 12 o’clock swing, if you swing to 11 o’clock the ball will travel a bit shorter, and this will be the same for 10 and 9 o’clock.
9 o’clock will normally be the shortest pitch shot back swing that you will want to take, don’t make your back swing too short, if you do it will start to throw off rhythm.
#5: The importance of a good shoulder turn
Good technique is very important for hitting consistent pitch shots. The key component that brings it all together along with a good setup and smooth rhythm…is the use of your shoulders.
A good shoulder turn will assist with getting all the other components to fall into place in sync.
Using your shoulders will also assist with good rhythm, which is required for a consistent strike. Always remember use your shoulders to move the club, not your arms.
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