Published: 06:00, 19 February 2021
| Updated: 07:45, 19 February 2021
This week we are moving away from the full swing and are going to focus on different elements of the game.
We are going to start off with pitch shots.
Chris is Head PGA Professional at Sittingbourne & Milton Regis Golf Club and owner of the CW Golf Studio, has been a PGA Professional for 23 years. During the course of this six-week programme, he will share with you some of his most popular drills and routines that he has found, through his coaching experiences, to benefit all golfers irrespective of their golf handicap or age.
First things first, what is a pitch shot? Well, for me, a pitch shot is less than a full swing with one of the shortest clubs in the bag. In my bag I carry three wedges and the first thing I have to establish is how exactly far I hit each wedge with my full swing. Once I know that i can then work on different pitching distances. Fore example, I know that with a full swing my 52 degree wedge travels 100 yards, so any pitch shot with that club is less than 100 yards in normal conditions.
When I play a pitch shot I try to imagine a pane of glass that sits parallel to the ground about waist high. If I am playing a chip shot I keep the club head beneath that pane of glass so as not to smash it (we’ll look at this next week).
If I am playing a pitch shot I am picturing that glass being shattered by the club head.
I have got three different lengths of shot. With each swing I picture smashing the glass on my backswing but I vary the length of it depending on how far I want to hit the ball. On my first and shortest pitch I visualise the clubhead barely hitting the glass. My second shot, again smashes the glass but this time I swing a little further back to generate a little more power and my third shot is my full swing as mentioned. How do I play those shots? I am going to focus on that pane of glass.
With a pitch shot, all I think about is the back swing, hinging my wrists with my lead arm parallel to the ground. I then turn back towards the target as ensure that my belly button is facing the target when i finish. Your body drives this swing and it is your turn that generates the power. I do not think about my hands on the way down. Hinge my wrists, smash the glass, turn towards the target and hold the finish.
There are a couple of little adjustments to our start position as well. Because this is more of a finesse shot, we are not trying to hit the ball as far as we can do, we are trying to control the distance and I find it easier to grip further down the club, shortening the club and making it easier to control. That helps to take a bit of distance off the shot.
I narrow my stance which means I have less stability with my set-up and during my swing so I am less likely to swing the club hard. Remember the ball needs to be pretty much central to my stance and hands towards my lead leg. The shaft leans towards the target and that tells me I am going to be hitting down on the golf ball and letting the loft of the club do all the work for me to get up into the air.
If I wanted to hit a shot as far as I could then I would have a nice wide stance to give me that stability so I can make those athletic movements as I play the shot.
Have a bit of fun with the shots, try to imagine that pane of glass and smash it on the way back. Hopefully you can then admire your shot finishing close to the target. Next week we are going to do chipping!
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