Pitching Tips in Golf

By Patrick Cameron
A good short game, including pitching, can help bring down your score.
A good short game, including pitching, can help bring down your score.

You can drive like a demon and hit long irons as if they were going out of style. But, if you short game falls short, you have problems--and a bad scorecard on your hands. Knowing some of the secrets to being an effective short game player can, more than any other aspect of the game, change how you score.

Pitching Over Obstacles

You're within 50 yards of the green but you've got sand to cross before you can pull out your faithful putter. The ball is stuck in some deep grass and you need to hit it high and land it soft. To hit this shot, and not have to hit another one there are basics that need to be followed. You want to use your most lofted club, a sand wedge for instance. You want to put the ball forward in your stance. Make sure as you swing through the ball that you allow your hips to rotate toward the target. The one key evil here is that you don't break your wrists. Keep your lead wrist line firm allowing the club and rotation to do the work of sending the ball high at your target.

Distance Control

When hitting a long iron or chipping, chances are you use the same swing, just changing your club for distance. When pitching 70 to 20 yards, you likely use the same club, but you need to achieve different distances. This needs to be accomplished through the swing. For shorter pitches, you should only bring your backswing back so that your club is parallel to the ground. For midrange pitches, the club should be vertical to the ground, so that if you threw the grip straight down it would stick in the ground. For long pitches on the outside of the club's range, you want to take a full golf swing. The key is to use the arms instead of full body rotation.

Creating Loft

With a pitch, you don't want the ball to roll excessively upon landing. As a result, hitting the ball low defeats the purpose of the shot. To create loft, you need to use your most lofted club (sand pr lob wedge). The ball should be in the middle of your stance or slightly forward. The most crucial ingredient, and the one that is counterintuitive, is to hit down on the ball at impact. Keep your follow through low and your ball will go up.

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