Pitching is a shot used frequently from within 5o yards of the green. It is a shot that travels more in the air than it does on the ground. In terms of difficulty, the chip shot (see chipping section) is easier and should be your first course of action if you cannot putt. However, the pitch shot has many great uses. If you need to hit over water or a bunker it will come in quite handy. Also, you can produce some spin with this shot and get it to react once it hits the green. This shot will also be a miniature version of your full swing so some of the set-up techniques will look familiar.
You can play this shot with a lot of different clubs but normally will be played with one of you wedges. This is where the practice comes in. The less loft on the club, the less back-swing you will need and the shot will ultimately go lower. Try using a 52-60 degree wedge to hit this shot and then experiment with some other clubs later.
Step 1: The Set-Up
- Start by gripping the club as you normally would with the face square to slightly open
- Take a stance that is about shoulder width apart or could be slightly narrower
- Position the ball in the center of the stance to slightly up in the stance (notice the orange stick in the picture below)
- Have your weight balanced evenly in your lower body
- Have a similar knee bend and spine tilt as in your full swing – Slight bend with the knees, Spine tilt roughly 45 degrees
*Remember, these can all change slightly depending on the height, length, and spin you want to produce.
Step 2: The Back-swing
- After you set up properly, the swing works pretty similar to your full swing. Depending again on the length of shot, your backswing will be different lengths. You have to practice to figure out how far you hit your shots. Sorry, no short-cuts here.
- Be sure to swing relaxed with little tension and try to feel your wrists hinge in the swing. This will help set the club in a proper position to hit quality shots. A good rule of thumb is to get your left arm parallel to the ground and the club should be angled at about 60 degrees from that (see picture below). Again, depending on length of swing this will change but this gives you a happy medium to start with.
- Also, the logo of your glove should point away from your body. This means that your hands have rotated properly in the backswing. Notice how you can see my glove logo in the picture.
Step 3: The Follow-Through
I’m gonna make it easy…..Turn through the ball and make your follow-through look like a mirror image of your back-swing (if the left arm was parallel in back-swing, now the right arm is parallel in the follow-through.
Also, we are not trying to “scoop” this ball. The club has loft on it for a reason. If you turn your body through the ball and let your arms naturally rotate and react then your contact should be good.
Again, this shot can be compared to your full swing so some of the keys will shine through.
In closing, remember the basics and trust a relaxed swing. This shot should feel like you swing at no more than 50% of your full power and most of the time no more than 25% of your full power. If you let your body move at a slower speed and trust the club then the shot will come off extremely soft which will make it land soft.
Hint: If your hitting a lot of chunky or thin shots and have no control then chances are you are “scooping” the club in the downswing. By that I mean that the wrist hinge you created in the back-swing is no longer present in the swing. This will throw off the timing of your swing. Also, swinging extremely fast will throw off the timing as well. Use these checkpoints to stay away from bad shots.
As always, Practice, Practice Practice and get a hold of me if you need any assistance. Take care.