Getting the technique right with the lofted pitch shot is very important, as I’ll explain shortly, but it’s also an area of the game that requires feel and judgement, which can only be attained by working hard.
The winter is a great time to practise your distance control, and when the new season begins you’ll be confident with your yardages.
Get out on the practice area and become familiar with the swing required to hit the ball a variety of distances, ranging from 20 yards up to whatever distance you can hit your shortest iron when making a full swing.
This is excellent preparation for the season, as these are the sort of distances that will prove vital when looking to turn bogeys into pars.
Stabilise your swing
From the 100 yards-and-in range, you’re looking to keep your lower body quiet and stable. In order to achieve this, you should address the ball with your stance slightly open.
This will reduce the movement in the lower half, which in turn will help stabilise the swing. It will also restrict the length of your swing and control distance, which is an added bonus when hitting a shot that is shorter than the full potential of the club you’re using.
Avoid the flick
The biggest error I see when players are hitting a high pitch into the green is using the wrists to try to flick the ball up in the air.
You already have a lofted club in your hands, so there’s no need to try to manufacture added loft. Instead, you should be looking to drive the clubhead forward with the hands and the shaft in a similar position at impact to how they were at address.
By compressing the ball and utilising the loft on offer you will produce plenty of height on the ball, which will then stop quickly when it lands on the green
Maintain your height
Another common issue is that in an attempt to get the ball up in the air, players try to get underneath it and end up losing height at impact.
This results in catching the ground first and hitting the shot fat. You should try to maintain the same spine angle you set at address throughout the entire swing. This will help to ensure that you catch the ball cleanly and hit it the desired distance.
Regulate swing length
The best way to control the distance you hit a pitch is through the length of the swing. This will offer you far more consistency than trying to adjust the rhythm of your swing.
By working on the range you’ll get a good understanding of how far the ball travels with each swing length, depending on the club you use.
I’d also suggest that you try to make your backswing the same length as your follow-through. This will help you control the length of the shot and will improve your consistency