Golf Tips: Pitch

By David Green
Pitching the ball is best when you are either too far away to chip, or you need to get over an obstacle.
Pitching the ball is best when you are either too far away to chip, or you need to get over an obstacle.

Golfers sometimes find themselves in an awkward position on the course. They’re less than 100 yards from the green, which is too close for a full shot, but too close for a chip shot. To get the ball close to the hole, golfers will need to master the pitch shot, which requires great skill and touch to execute. Practice tips and drills to improve your short game and lower your scores.

Swing

The pitch should be a controlled swing where the golfer doesn’t shift his weight. Begin the swing by bringing the club back to about waist height. There can be a slight hinge in the wrist on the way back. The follow through depends on the kind of shot required. For longer pitch shots, the follow through should be a bit longer. Also, a higher follow through will help the shot land more softly. If you’re seeking more roll on your chip shot, abbreviate the follow through.

Landing Soft

Sometimes golfers will find a situation on the course where they have to play a delicate shot over a bunker or water hazard. To solve the situation, players will need to hit a pitch shot that lands softly on the green. Using a more lofted wedge, play the ball slightly back in your stance and move your hands slightly forward. Swing the club back just past your knees and slightly hinge your wrists. On the follow through, rotate your chest and arms at the same time, finishing a bit higher than the waist.

Throw Ball

Distance control is one of the most challenging aspects of hitting a successful pitch shot. Golfers must make a choice about where to land the ball, how much the ball will roll and how much spin they hope to put on the shot. To help visualize the shot and make decisions before lining up a pitch shot, imagine yourself throwing the ball underhanded to the hole. For right-handed golfers, take the ball in your right hand and take a stance like you’re going to hit a pitch shot. Take your hands back, like a takeaway during the swing, on the follow through, toss the ball underhanded and continue with your follow through. This drill will help generate ideas on the kinds of trajectories and spin necessary for certain pitch shots.

About the Author

A former sports and lifestyle reporter at the "Daily Nebraskan," David Green is a writer who has covered a variety of topics for daily newspapers. He was selected by the "Los Angeles Times" to participate in the Jim Murray Sports Writing Workshop. Green holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska.

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