The pitch shot is a shot where the ball spends more time in the air than on the ground. The pitch shot is used anywhere from thirty to sixty yards away from the green. It is generally used when there are hazards to hit over such as bunkers or water.
Assess The Shot
Assessing the pitch is very important as the short game is the scoring part of the game. Reducing the number of strokes in your game will, in turn, reduce your handicap.
The factors you need to consider when playing the pitch are:
1. Club selection
The pitch shot is played with your most lofted clubs ie pitching wedge, sand wedge or lob wedge. The length of the shot will determine what club to select. As part of this, you must consider what, if any, hazards are in your way;
- Consider the way the ball is lying
- Consider the putting green and the terrain – Is it firm/soft?
- Visualize the shot and always think positively
- Practice your swing to get a feel for the shot
2. Clubface Aim and Grip
When addressing the golf ball, grip the club as normal with light grip pressure, choke down the club slightly to aid control. When setting up to play the shot, you want your clubface pointing square to your target. Feet, knees, hips and shoulders should be aligned slightly left of your target.
3. Ball Position and Weight Distribution
You should adopt a narrow stance slightly inside your shoulder width approximately 14-18 inches wide. Some degree of left foot turn towards the target would be an advantage in playing the pitch shot, something between 20 and 40 degrees would be sufficient. Ball position should be left of centre, you should position your weight with 60% on your left leg when addressing the ball. This is going to help you hit down into the back of the ball creating the desired angle of attack.
When playing a pitch shot, your swing should feel like a mini version of your full swing. You should start the swing with your hands and arms moving away together. Remember to maintain a smooth rhythm throughout. As your hands and arms just go past your right thigh, your wrists should begin to hinge. To check if you have hinged your wrists correctly, the club head should be above your hands and the club shaft on the correct plane.
As the impact area, it is very important that your weight is on your left side and your hands and arms are in front of the club head.
Just allow your body to rotate and go into the finishing position.
Key points to remember when Pitching:
- Visualise the shot;
- Maintain light grip pressure;
- Remember that the backswing determines distance; the backswing and through swing should mirror each other.
- Finally, chip with the arms, pitch with the wrists.