Pitching vs. chipping

A pitch shot is a high-lofted shot that lands softly on the green and has very little roll. The clubs that should be used for this shot are the pitching wedge, sand wedge or lob wedge.

This shot requires "up." Yes, "up." What I mean by "up" is the hands have to keep going up and over the shoulders during the swing.

The stance is slightly open and the weight is more on the left foot. The length of the swing depends on the distance from the green. The speed of the swing should remain consistent throughout.

This shot usually requires a longer stroke, but shorter than a full swing. Think like a clock. Finish is at noon. Distance is determined by the length of the backswing: 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock, 10 o’clock with a full turn of the shoulders.

A chip shot is a low-lofted shot that lands hard on the green and has more roll. The clubs that should be used for this shot are 7-, 8- or 9-irons. This shot requires the hands to be lower on the grip and ahead of the ball. The stance should be narrow and slightly open with the weight on the target foot. The length of the swing depends on the distance from the green and how far you need the ball to roll once it lands on the green.

Distance is determined by length of back swing or speed of the club head. This is where the rule of 12 comes in play in how far the ball rolls. Select the club you want to use and subtract the number from 12 to get the air time. For example, on a 20-foot chip shot using a 7-iron (pitching wedge), subtract 7 from 12 to get 5, which is one-fifth air time, four-fifths roll; 8-iron, 12-8 = 4, which is one-fourth air time, three-fourths roll; 9-iron, 12-9 = 3, which is one-third air time two-thirds roll; and 10-iron, 12-10 = 2, which is one-half air time and one-half roll.

Proper club selection is the basis of my 12 easy ways to find your spot to land the ball. Learn to use your pitching wedge first with control. The speed of the swing should remain consistent throughout.

This shot usually requires a shorter pendulum stroke with the lower body stationary. Swing your club to the target.

A ball position more toward the right foot will produce more roll; a position more forward toward the left will produce a loft. Keep it simple. Put it in the hole.

 

Chris Eastman is the director of instruction at The Revere Golf Club. He was voted one of the "Top Four Instructors for Nevada, 2009" by Golf Digest magazine. Eastman can be reached at www.chriseastmangolf.com or 610-5470.

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