Online Lessons - Lesson 2

SHORT GAME SERIES FOR PGC CLUB
(By Graham Webster)

The Pitch Shot

The first thing one must remember when playing any short shot to a green, you must work out what the distance is to get the ball onto the green and what distance you have remaining to the hole. This will determine which shot you should be playing.

When one misses the green and the ball is in a position where the distance from the edge of the putting surface to the pin, and the ground between the ball and the edge of the green are about equal. But the ground between the ball and the edge of the green is too uneven to putt the ball; you should play a pitch shot.

A pitch shot is played by, pitching the ball between three-quarters and two thirds of the distance to the hole (this will clear the rough ground between your ball and the green). The pitching distance depends on the speed of the green. On fast greens you pitch the ball two-thirds the distance and on slow greens you pitch three quarters the distance to the hole.

Club selection is important. You should play the pitch shot with your Pitching Wedge.

Start by standing with your feet about 30cm apart. Grip the club towards the bottom of the grip. This will give you great control as the closer you get your hands to the club head the more confidence you have.

Bending forward, and keeping your head perfectly still, with your weight favouring your left side (for right handed players), swing your arms like you would when holding your putter. There is no wrist movement when playing this shot. While having practice swings take notice of where the club connects with the ground. You should feel like your shoulders are rotating around your neck.

When you move forward and take your stance to play the ball, make sure the ball is positioned in a similar position to where you were connecting with the ground when you had your practice swings. The position of the ball will more than likely be towards the back of your stance.

Work out how far two-thirds/three-quarters of the distance is and focus on this point on the putting surface. This is where you need to pitch the ball. The ball after landing will run the remaining distance to the hole. Also remember to allow for the side slope (break) of the green. Many golfers focus on the hole when chipping/pitching the ball. This usually results in a shot that goes too far.

You can estimate the pitching distance by how far you swing the golf club backwards on your back swing. Always use this method for working out the pitching distance. Never use power to differentiate between hitting the ball further or shorter as this is difficult to judge.

When you have mastered the action, practice this shot hitting balls to different positions on the practice green. Doing this will create what you are going to get on the golf course, which is one chance at playing the required shot.

You will soon start to get the feel of the swing and once your confidence lifts you will start to chip balls in not just get them close to the hole.

If you need further help e-mail us with your contact details and the area where you live, and we will send you details of your nearest PGA Professional who will be more than willing to help you with individual lessons or equipment advice.

Watch out for the next lesson in the series.

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