To play better golf this season, you simply need to spend more time working on your short game. This week we will look at improving your approach shots by perfecting your pitch shots.
Pitch shots are made with a wedge and should fly high and stop quickly. Once you have learned the fundamentals of hitting solid pitch shots, all you need is to do is spend more time practising.
The five rules for perfecting pitch shots are:
Select the right club
Set up correctly
Strike the ball first
Develop good feel
Follow through after impact
The best club to use when pitching is the sand wedge. It is designed to 'bounce' as your club impacts the ball. If you don’t have a sand wedge then you best purchase one. It is the one of the most important and versatile clubs in your bag.
A good set up for a short pitch shot is a narrow but slightly open stance. The ball should be positioned in the centre of your stance, with the shaft of the club leaning forward towards your target. To ensure that you impact the ball with a descending blow, simply distribute about 70% of your weight on your forward foot.
Proper ball position will allow the club face to strike the ball at the bottom of its swing arc. A good practise drill that will help you strike the ball first is the 'tee drill'. Set up a row of golf balls and place a tee about a half of a ball width in front of each ball. When you pitch each ball onto the practise green the club should strike the ball first then proceed to pull out the tee in front of each ball through impact.
Good feel around the greens is essential to a great short game. When pitching the ball, you need to feel the weight of the club head as you swing it. A good grip and neutral grip pressure will help you achieve this. Practise your pitch swing with your eyes closed so that you can feel less of the grip in your hands and more of the club head.
Finally make a good follow-through when you pitch the ball. Your upper body needs to turn towards your target as your arms swing forward. Simply think to point your belt buckle to the target after impact.
Next Week: Setting Goals for the Upcoming Season