What was the hook that pulled you into the game of golf? Was it the 10-footer that you made for par or the up and down from 40 yards. No, it was the solid 5-iron that flew 150 yards and landed 5 feet from the pin. Golfers get more satisfaction from hitting a solid driver then they do from hitting a 40 yard pitch next to the hole. Have you ever been to a driving range and took an observation on the amount of golfers working on their full swing vs. their short game? Exactly, the difference is significant. If you were to take that same observation at a tour event you would see an equal amount of players in each area. This is one of the reasons why golfers are not getting better. The driver has become the measuring stick to how you are playing. I believe if you can pitch the golf ball consistently, you can lower your scores rapidly.

What are the short game shots? They consist of putting, pitching, chipping and sand. The number one short game shot is putting because we are doing it on ever hole. The problem is if we don’t pitch the ball close enough to the hole, the up and down becomes more difficult. Pitching the ball is by the far the number one most difficult short game shot for golfers. It is the shot that requires higher spin greater trajectory that lands soft on the green. It becomes a problem when we hit two great shots up near the green, then we decide to play tennis with our wedge back and forth back and forth. The next time you are on the course keep track of your pitch shots. At the end of every round take a look at your pitch shots from 50 yards and in. I guarantee there is a lot of room for improvement.

The issue I find when teaching pitching is the student’s awareness of where the club should be at impact. The student is either trying to hang back and help the ball in the air with their hands and wrist, or push their hands excessively forward at impact where the leading edge tends to dig. There has to be a blend of the two. The hands will be slightly in front of the ball at impact while the torso and lower body are moving to facilitate where the club is going. This will allow for the bounce of the club to work and get the desired result. It is also imperative for hitting consistent solid wedge shots. Take the time to see your local PGA Professional to get some help.

Rico Riciputi, PGA

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