October 18th, 2012 by Tyler Pringle
Pitches are often some of the trickiest shots around the green. Unfortunately, they present many challenges since they often require a forced carry over a hazard or difficult pin position. A pitch is also difficult since it is usually performed from an uncomfortable distance. Learning to control the distance is vital for a successful pitch shot. The following drills will help develop better distance control around the green.
This drill will help you develop the correct feel and follow-through motion. As the name suggests, you will not need a club to perform this task. Pick a few different targets at different distances. Face the direction of each target and toss a ball to each target underhand. The underhand toss should be performed with your dominant hand (right hand for a right-handed player). Notice the relaxed feeling of your body, arm, and hand while making the toss. Additionally, pay attention to how your hand finishes higher when the target is farther away. After you make a few tosses, switch back to holding a wedge.
How far should you swing to hit a ball a specific distance? Try to match your swing length to a specific yardage. Learning to follow-through is key to successfully hitting a pitch shot. Many players create a big backswing and decelerate through impact with minimal follow-through. In fact, to create the proper finish, you want to focus on a shorter backswing and a longer follow-through.
Think of your swing in relation to the hour positions on a clock. For example, if you swing your arms to a 9 o’clock backswing position, follow through to at least a 3 o’clock position. Determine how far the ball goes with a backswing position of 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 o’clock positions. Swinging with a constant tempo and follow-through are vital to mastering the pitching technique.
The only way to improve pitching is through practice. Therefore, set targets at different locations and practice hitting shots to different distances. A basic technique is to set targets at close range and extend farther away. Develop the feel by making repetitive swings that you can transfer to the course.