Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Hit the High, Soft Pitch Shot Around the Green

The high, soft pitch shot is very useful when you have to carry a bunker or swale around a green.  This shot does take practice but I will share with you some keys to work on.  The swing I am making is for a 20 yard carry.  I will use my most lofted wedge for this shot (58-60 degrees).  You do not have to open the face for this shot.  With the correct wedge and technique you will have plenty of elevation on the shot.

Set Up- Your stance should be about shoulder width apart with the ball positioned between center and the inside of your front foot.  Your feet will be square to your target but angled slightly toward the target.  Open your hips slightly and this adjustment in combination with the right foot turned inward will prevent a sway and help you bring the club back to the bottom of the ball.  Your hands will be positioned slightly ahead of the ball.
Note the letter "L" formed between my left arm and club
Backswing- The swing starts with the arms and then the hands will hinge upwards.  The hinging action helps to flight the ball higher.  The motion should be smooth from start to finish.  With a little practice you will feel how much swing is needed to carry the ball the correct distance.  Keep in mind the swing shown is used from 20 yards and closer to the green.  As you move further away there will be more arm, shoulder and foot movement.

Finish- The length of the finish should closely match the length of the backswing.  In other words, the club does not stop right after impact as it does for a pitch and run shot.  Let the momentum carry you to the finish.  Since this was a 20 yard pitch, my right heel does not leave the ground.  As the shot gets longer, there will be more of a weight shift on the follow through.
At impact, the goal is to strike the ball and turf at the same time.  

My recommendation is to find your baseline swing for a 20 yard carry.  Once you get this feel, then you will be able to alter the length of the swing to vary the carry distance.  The firmness of the greens and slope will determine how much roll you will have after landing on the green.  You will need to pay attention to this detail when you practice.  Also keep in mind a four piece golf ball will stop more quickly than a two piece.
I teach this shot and many more in my short game series instruction program. 

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