In a time where “grip it and rip it” dominates most golfers’ thinking, it is oftentimes very easy to forget about some of the other skills required to play good golf. Pitching (a technique that is slowly becoming a lost art) is definitely one of those skills. After all, the farther you hit it off the tee the more often you’ll be faced with a shorter shot into the green, right?
The average player’s short game typically makes up 60 percent of the total shots taken in a normal round of golf. Of that 60 percent, approximately half could be contributed to putting with the other half falling to pitching or chipping (a small percentage could come from sand play but we’ll leave out those strokes in this discussion).
What all that means is that the average player will spend roughly 15 percent of total shots on pitching. That’s 12 to 15 shots in every round. Following is some information that might help you to save a few of those strokes the next time you head out.
The first step to improving your pitching is to find your 50-yard swing. Using your middle wedge (usually the sand wedge), place the ball in the center of your stance and hit several shots that carry approximately 50 yards paying special attention to how big of a backswing you are making. Once you figure out how big of a backswing is required to hit it 50 yards, all you have to do to increase or decrease the distance you hit it is to alter the ball position in your stance.
Using the same club and the same length of backswing, you can hit it 40 yards by moving the ball up in your stance an inch or two or you can hit it 60 yards by moving the ball back in your stance an inch or two. Shorter or longer distances can be achieved by using the same technique with a different lofted wedge.
Brandon Stooksbury is a class A member of the PGA of America with more than 10 years of experience as a golf professional. Currently working for GolfTEC in the west valley, he can be contacted at 368-GOLF or firstname.lastname@example.org.