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Pitching

Pitching is used when you are as close as 20 yards and as far as 100 yards from the target.  This swing is actually a miniature full swing but with much less trunk rotation and upper body rotation. A pitch flies higher than a chip and rolls less.  A good shot to use when hitting over something like a bunker or water hazard.    

In our session we discuss clock positions, and like chipping, a pitch also uses these positions.  I recommend practicing with your different wedges, three clock positions,  8:00, 9:00, and 10:30.  I use all of my wedges (PW, 50deg, 54 deg, and 58 deg) when pitching. This allows for a combination of 12 different distances and trajectories.


PW 50 deg 54 deg 58 deg
8:00
12 yards
13 yards 14 yards 11 yards
9:00 59 yards 49 yards 40 yards 31 yards
10:30 72 yards 69 yards 56 yards 48 yards

 

The speed of the golf swing is based on Dave Pelz’s concept of “dead hands”.  In his book The Short Game Bible , Pelz effectively explains in explicit engineering detail and through his extensive research – and what I found out through years of my own golf trials and testing in my own game.  Pelz is a trained aerospace engineer and has put the abacus to short game analysis like no other in the history of golf.  I strongly recommend his short game bible as required reading for your golf library.

Deciding on the club is influenced by many variables, such as:  rough or short grass, length of roll desired, undulations on the green, wind and conditions, etc.

Pre-Shot:  Start from behind the ball and determine where you want the ball to land and gauge the direction.  Pick an intermediate spot in front of the ball that matches the direction you want the ball to travel to get into the hole or in a position you’ve picked.  Move to the address position and get a “feel” for the shot by taking some swings that match up with your “clock” position. (see pics below)  Agree that the clock position swing is correct for the shot and line up your clubface with the intermediate target.  Make a few looks to your target.  Trust you’ve taken care of all the things you can control.  Make your stroke.  No need to peek for at least 2-3 seconds after the ball has been hit.

As discussed in putting, be careful not to “hit with your hands”.  This feeling actually accelerates the club makes the ball travel much farther than you may have intended.  Just allow your clock swing position to be “free and easy”.  The loft of the club will take care everything else.

  1. Stroke is a relaxed and easy swing but not loosey-goosey.  Grip pressure is comfortable.
  2. Knees and weight can be slightly forward towards the target to ensure a downward angle of clubhead approach to the ball. (remember your pendulum and resulting spin)
  3. Length of backswing controls the distance the ball will travel. (not hand-hitting power)
  4. From behind the ball, looking down the intended target line, choose an intermediate target.
  5. Practice swing(s) for distance and feel.
  6. Step to the ball, align your club to the intermediate target, quick pre-check of all the “controllables”.
  7. Pitch with confidence.  Keep your spine angle down and through the shot until your arms are on the target side of your stance.  Allow the club to release naturally and flow into the follow through without forcing a high-posing finish.

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