Golf Tips

Pitch Shot Basics

The first thing to decide is whether you are going to hit a low, mid, high or flop shot using L3 (lie, landing spot and length the ball needs to roll). This helps choose the proper club for the shot as well.

Ball position for a low pitch is one ball behind the middle of your stance. Ball position for a mid pitch is center of your stance. Ball position for a high pitch or flop shot is one ball in front of the middle of your stance.

Feet should be at least 6 inches a part and open approximately 45 degrees. Common mistake is putting your feet to close together. This makes it near impossible to get your weight to the front foot. For a low shot, front foot should remain flat on the ground on the back stroke. Many people may find it helpful to rotate your hips by allowing the heel of the front foot to come up. This will also help keep the club low and slow on the backstroke. Using this technique for a mid pitch, high pitch or flop shot is especially helpful because you are rotating further on the back stroke.

For a low pitch, the club head should go back to the height between your ankle and calf. For a mid pitch, take the club head back to the height between your calf and knee. For a high pitch or flop shot, take the club head back to the height between your knee and waist. Hint, the shorter the back stroke the easier to make good ball contact.

Consistent ball contact comes from a lower shaft angle coming in to the ball on the forward stroke. The bottom of the club face should brush the grass 3 to 6 inches behind the ball thru to at least 3 to 6 inches in front of the ball.

Allow the heel of the rear foot to come up on the forward stroke. This will promote the hips turning and allow the chest to turn toward the target. Arms and hands will follow.

On a low or mid pitch, the arms and hands should roll over which points the toe of the club up or toward the target. Hint, thumb on the top hand should point at the target to control distance and direction. If you need more spin, leave the palm of rear hand facing up. This also assists in the club face pointing upward. Both will invoke more spin on the ball, preventing the ball to rollout. Golfers call this getting the ball to check up. However, on a high pitch or a flop shot, always leave the palm up allowing the ball to land softly. Imagine tossing a ball high in the air. The motions are very similar.

On the forward stroke of a low pitch, the club head shouldn't get above your knees. The height of the forward stroke of a mid pitch should match the height of the back stroke. For example, knee to knee. On a high pitch or flop shot the club head should  point up toward the sky. This is accomplished by stopping the forward motion of the lead arm at your hip and allow the trail arm to continue to move forward and up.

The only difference between a high pitch and a flop shot is an open club face at address and the forward stroke of a flop shot travels down the toe line not the target line. In other words, for a flop shot aim the club face at the target but swing down your toe line. For higher shots, open your club face and your stance more. Hint, the club face and stance always open the same amount. The more you open the club face the more you open your stance.

Remember, regardless of the pitch shot you choose, always take a few practice swings because you play the way you practice. The only difference between a practice swing and your actual swing is the golf ball gets in the way.