To be a great pitcher of the ball you need options. With pin positions and ground conditions varying so greatly from golf course to golf course, you need two options to hit every key yardage – one that flies high and stops quickly and another that comes in lower and rolls out. Of course, the most important number of all is 100 yards.
Playing the par 5 final hole of the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach, I had a one shot lead. I laid my second shot up to 100 yards – one of my favourite yardages, one I felt I could hit with my eyes closed. Here I’ll explain to you the techniques I use for this shot.
Graeme McDowell Master the 100 yard pitch
My options from 100 yards are either a full swing with my 58° wedge or a slightly shorter swing with my gap wedge. Exactly the same rules apply here as from 120 yards: the full swing with more loft will produce a higher flight with more spin.
This will be helpful in some scenarios, but not always. So I also play a chest high shot with each of my wedges. I start by gripping down the shaft by an inch at address. This shortens the arc of my swing, removing a bit of the speed at impact.
At the top of the backswing, I feel like my arms travel to chest high and through to chester height in the finish. Through years of practising this technique, I know that with my 52° wedge, the ball goes about 100 yards.
The key to this method is keeping the rhythm smooth. With less clubhead speed at impact I can produce a lower flight with less spin that’s great for accessing back pin positions, or playing into wind.