Pitching Common Sense

The most common pitching errors occur prior to the club starting the swing.  They are poor club selelction and an improper address position.

Pitching Address

So many of the golfers that I teach have a 60 degree club or lob wedge in their bags and the vast majority of them are not qualified to benefit from it being part of their set.  It actually hurts their scores.  Most of the pain comes in the pitching department!

Golfers seem to be under the impression that if you have a shot that is shorter than the distance you hit your full lob wedge, then it surely must be a lob wedge!  Wrong!  Here are a few things to keep in mind when playing your next pitch shot:

  • You more than likely have a PITCHING wedge in your bag - feel free to pitch with it!  It requires a lesser swing, has a flatter face, gets the ball to the hole more efficiently (not via the moon!) and will still spin the ball.  Practicing with your pitching wedge will open your eyes to this reality.  It just takes a little creativity and feel before you are off and running.  It is the perfect club if there is any wind, the greens are soft or the pin is anywhere from the center of the green and back.  It is for this reason that I will seldom pitch with anything more lofted than my 54 degree (I have a PW/48 degree, a 54 degree and a 60 degree) as the swing becomes too big and the margin of error too great.
  • Your LW has the most loft in your bag, the sharpest leading edge in the bag and the highest potential for disaster in the bag, especially when travelling at high speeds! Reserve this club for the little specialty shots around the greens where the ball needs to stop in a hurry.  If you cannot think of the last time you saved a stroke with your lob wedge, then relegate it to fire poker or roach killer.  It more than likely will work better for you in those departments!  Shhh, I know multiple tour golfers who are currently poor pitchers who simply will not take the time to learn to hit these shots with the appropriate club!
  • Keep in mind that whatever club you choose to hit most of your pitch shots with the stroke requires a descending hit on the ball.  The weight must be on the front foot in order for this to occur.  This impact position can be encouraged by setting up in a chipping type address position (see above picture) and allowing the speed of the body rotation to control the distance.  Keep in mind that pitching is a chipping set-up and motion with the addition of wrist action!  Hit down on the back of the ball and keep the follow through short and crisp.   

The Finish

Try these simple keys for your pitching and you too will see the light!


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Thanks for reading and enjoy this great game we all love!