Here is a great step-by-step guide to pitching – the tips and drills that follow will help you perfect the 50-yard pitch shot and really hone your consistency from that range…
1) Step-by-step guide to pitching: Lining up
In the 50-yard pitch I’m playing in the photo below, I’ve got a dip to go over and the pin is set back a bit, so I’m looking to pitch it about 10 yards on to the green. I’m using my 60˚ lob wedge, but you may find lower lofts give you the consistency and flight want.
First, you need to pick your target line allowing for any break on the green, in this case very little, so my target line is the flag. That can, of course, vary, so look from behind the ball and pick out a point on your line where you want to land it. Then square your clubface up to that point so no errors creep in just because you haven’t lined up properly.
Narrow the stance right down compared to a full swing, and adjust your feet and hips so they are slightly open to the target. This pre-sets them in the desired impact position, because on short shots like this you don’t have as much time to rotate the hips through the ball. Crucially, though, keep your shoulders square to the line.
Place about 65% of your weight on your front foot at address to help the club bottom out after the ball rather than before. Ball position should be just back of centre, but if you want to vary the flight a little and hit it lower, you can move it further back.
Pitching distance is very much controlled by swing length, so look to get your left arm into the 9 o’clock position for a 50-yard pitch – parallel to the ground. This should give you the momentum you need to generate sufficient clubhead speed.
It’s then all about commitment and keeping the rhythm smooth so the club can bottom out in its arc just after the ball. Any hint of rushing or decelerating will throw everything out, so think rhythm.
4) Landing point drill
To really hone your distance control from 50 yards, as part of this step-by-step guide to pitching, set up a reasonably generous circle of tees between the pin and the edge of the green. I’m using my lob wedge here, which should generate some spin before then releasing out, so I’ve set my circle quite close to the hole. You can vary this according to how you prefer to play your pitch shots.
A lot of players understand what they should be doing when pitching, but forget about the landing point. This drill really engages your mind on your landing point – a really important part of the step-by-step guide to pitching and it will help you judge your pitching carry distances much better.