Practice Session 5 – Basic Pitch Shots
Back in the second week we practiced the chip shot, a shot that stays low to the ground and rolls like a putt. That shot is good for situations where you have space between yourself and the hole with no obstacles forcing you to carry the ball in the air.
Unfortunately, we are not always so fortunate to have that situation. Sometimes you must hit the ball in the air around the greens – for example, to carry the ball over deep rough or a bunker. With the proper setup and basic motion through the golf ball, the pitch shot will become a useful shot in your arsenal.
With your setup, you should do the following to maximize your natural athletic ability:
- Use your normal grip at the normal placement on the club
- Take your stance with your feet just inside of shoulder-width and have the ball set in the middle of your feet
- Your hands should be slightly ahead of the ball, making the golf club lean slightly towards the target
- Your weight should be slightly favoring your front foot, creating a slight lean towards the target
The golf of the basic motion for the pitch shot is to have the bounce of the wedge hit the ground slightly behind the ball and continue through impact to a full finish. I like to describe the feeling as the golf club sweeping the grass through impact.
The bounce of the wedge is your friend on this shot. It is designed to keep the club moving through the turf without catching. Your setup helps expose the bounce so the club slides through the turf and hits a high, soft pitch shot.
Practice Drill – Bucket Drill
Setup a bucket as your target. Place five golf balls at the following distances: 10 yards, 15 yards, 20 yards, 25 yards, and 30 yards. Your goal for this drill is to fly as many pitch shots in the bucket as you can from each distance.
At first it should be very difficult to make even one pitch shot. As you keep practicing this drill, you should improve at making shots or at least hitting the bucket with your attempts. Remember, this drill will improve your distance control with practice, but not even the best players in the world can consistently make them in the bucket!
Previous Improve Your Short Game Series Articles
Practice Session 4 – Lag Putting
Practice Session 3 – Basic Chip Shot
Practice Session 2 – Putting
Practice Session 1 – Distance Control