A soft touch on your pitch shots around the green can be an important factor in keeping scores low and protecting against longer putts – which often result in two or even three putts.
But it’s not always easy for amateurs to naturally find the shot that combines both firm contact and precision when using a wedge.
To be honest, many amateur players are just trying their best to get the ball safely onto the green without smashing it with a wedge. While this should always be your #1 priority, controlling the distance of your pitch shots will have a positive impact on your scorecard almost immediately.
So how exactly do you do that?
In today’s Play Smart, the folks at Golf Distillery explain a simple technique you can use on your pitch shots that will help you control the distance of the ball and place it almost exactly where you want to land it.
How to control the distance of your pitch shots
A lot of amateurs are probably like me: they pitch the ball onto the green, watch it land about six feet from the hole, and then continue to watch it roll past the hole – leaving a lot of meat on the putting bone.
But if you follow the technique below, you will avoid such frustration.
Start practicing different distances
When a player hits the driving range, they often take out their driver to try to bomb it as far as possible, or use a 5-iron to get a feel for distance. But when it comes to mastering your pitchshots, the video above explains how you can practice at different distances to build your muscle memory.
“If I go to the driving range and take out a 7-iron, I’ll just hit the same distance — I’ll hit 150, 150, 150, 150,” he says in the video. “But when it comes to chipping and pitching the ball, every shot I get on the golf course asks me a different question. So it’s not just about pulling out the pitching wedge and hitting it flat because there will be so many different distances I want to hit at.”
Experiment with different wedges
During a recent golf lesson, I had one of those aha moments – that it’s okay to use something other than my pitching wedge to chip onto the green.
Even though I already knew this, I avoided experimenting with my 56 or 60 degree wedge because I wasn’t comfortable with it. I basically had no idea how to hit a good pitch shot with it and have always relied on a bump and run option with my pitching wedge. But don’t let your habits of better shots and lower scores stop you – as the instructor explains in the video.
“I have different wedges, but any of these wedges could create the distance I want. It is [up to the player] to choose how hard to hit the ball and how far to fly the golf ball.”
Remember a watch when measuring your swing speed
As players rotate through their swing, a simple distance control barometer plots your swing like the hands of a clock. This will help you determine how far back you want to go for each pitch shot you’re faced with.
“Think of every hour of your swing that creates a 10-yard distance variation,” he says in the video. “How to bring back [the club] an hour, two hours, three hours; that would be 30 yards – as long as I’m going through the same distance. If I do a shorter swing, it’s a shorter shot. And with a longer swing, it’s a longer shot.”
Match your backswing to your follow-through
As mentioned above, your swing should be on one axis, with your backswing and follow-through looking nearly identical. The instructor in the video explains this concept as he works on your distance control with pitch shots.
“10 yards per hour changes the golf ball’s flight 10 yards each time. So next time you hit the driving range, consider 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 yard shots. As long as you’re making matches, you should be more in control of your pitch shots.”
Now that you know some secrets to hitting better pitch shots, you’re armed with more information to hit the golf course and execute them. Controlling the distances on your pitches prepares you for tighter putts and lower scores.