Executing the Perfect Pitch Shot

Krista Dunton, PGA.com

Problem Area: Short Game
Series: Instruction Feature

Published: Thursday, November 11, 2010 | 4:29 p.m.

That troublesome 20-30 yard pitch shot is easier than you think. Learn to hit a variety of pitch shots by relaxing your arms to allow them to work around your body.

The key to successful pitch shots is learning to use the bounce of the sand wedge. This is accomplished by narrowing your stance at address and making sure your hands and grip point to the middle of your body. The bottom of the club face is square or slightly open at address to slide under the ball and loft it softly into the air. Never close the club face or push the hands forward when you are trying to hit a soft pitch shot.

During the backswing, your hands stay close to your body as the right elbow moves behind your side and left hand remains close to your chest. Your body then rotates through the shot as your chest and hips turn to the left. The left elbow will fold and move behind as your hands finish by your front hip. Keep your arms and the club accelerating through impact; the club will loft the ball in the air. No need to help the ball up in the air.

Remember -- maintain soft hands throughout the swing A Simple Way to Create the Proper Pitching Motion: Peter Jacobsen gave me this tip.

Take a piece of rubber tubing and put it around each elbow as it goes around your back. This will force each elbow to work around your body, minimize the amount of arm swing, keep the hands and handle in close and allow your arms and body to work together. Remember when the body stops rotating the hands will get more active. If your chest rotates through the shot the arms and club will be able to work around your body keeping the hands less active in the shot.

In summary, when taking your backswing, the right elbow will work slightly behind your body and the left elbow folds and works behind your body during the forward swing. This keeps the butt end of the club close to your body and minimizes the amount that the grip end swings compared to the club head swing. As your hands stay in close and the arms work around your body the club head will be able to release and slide under the ball allowing the loft of the club to lift the ball resulting in a soft pitch with backspin.

Making it Happen on the Golf Course For every short game shot you must have a routine, which will keep your mind quiet and allow the athlete in you to take over and react to the target.

1. Visualize the shot and pick a landing area.

2. Take a practice swing with the exact length of swing and pace that you want. Be sure that the back of the club brushes the grass and you hear club head hitting the ground.

3. Set up to the ball, keeping your hands and arms as soft as possible then - execute. No thinking over the ball. Simply let your body repeat what you rehearsed in the practice swing. Any negative thoughts will produce tension and prohibit your body from performing the skill it already knows how to do.

Practice these skills and soon you will be executing great shots around the green with a great deal of confidence!

Try this ...



Do the hands allow the wrists to break through short shots - 10 yards or less?