Knowing how to hit a pitching wedge is a great way to improve your short game... but it's even better if you can control your ball flight on approach to the green. Pitching is a crucial part of the game, especially for beginners, and one that can help you create birdie opportunities or save par when out of position. We have enlisted the expert help of Golf Monthly Top 50 Coach Dan Grieve to teach us how to control the ball flight when pitching...
How do you pitch perfectly in golf?
When pitching, many amateurs don't consider how they can change the ball flight. To get versatility in pitching, you want to be able to hit low flights, medium flights and high flights – and it really isn't as difficult as you might think.
There are many factors to consider when choosing which type of pitch shot you want to play including the wind, pin position and the slope on the green. For instance, if there is a lot of wind or the pin is at the back of the green you might choose a low ball flight, whereas if the pin as it the front or you are downwind you might choose a high ball flight.
Pitching With A Lower Ball Flight
As I am trying to hit a lower flight, the perfect ball position for this shot is just back of centre.
Primarily, it is important to consider where I am releasing the club. I want the club head to stay fairly low, and the butt of the grip to be somewhere near the left hip on the follow through. I am not allowing the club to release that much, and that low flight will help to keep the ball under the wind.
Pitching With A Medium Ball Flight
Let's say you want to hit it in with a little more spin and a little more height. The ball position for this flight moves to just forward of centre, and as we are coming down we are going to let the club release more to around the belt buckle just past impact. That will give us a longer follow through and a softer ball flight this time around. As you can see in the video, the medium ball flight pitch will release more and have a higher launch.
Pitching With A Higher Ball Flight
Let's imagine we are now playing towards a front pin, or it's downwind and you need to stop it more quickly, we would position the ball more towards the left foot. We are really going to release it now, all the way toward the back hip. That full follow through will give the ball a nice soft landing and hopefully set up birdie opportunities.
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Location: Woburn GC
Dan is one of the leading coaches in the UK, a Fellow of the PGA and a short-game virtuoso. He has had considerable success with a collection of tour pros, helping them to Order of Merit titles and major victories, and his Short Game School is the most attended in the UK. His students, past and present, include Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Inci Mehmet and Iona Stephen.
Most common problem:
Swing – over the top , help by getting the basics correct at address and making them aware how to get the club online coming down.
Short game – creating spin and feel around the greens, help by educating on what the short game actually is (weak on purpose) and understand bounce and how they can apply it to different lies/situations.
Greatest success story:
Helping Georgia Hall from World No. 450 to No. 6 and winning a Major, two Order of Merits and Solheim Cup appearances.
Alex Hay was a great influence during my first few years at Woburn. In sport more generally Sir Clive Woodward has taught me how to deliver at the highest level.
Most common fault:
Flipped right hand (hands behind the ball). Understand a correct coil/load going back and how to sequence better coming down so the chest opens up and gives the arms space to deliver a stronger impact. Lots of body action drills to enhance the feel, with and without the ball.
- Barry PlummerStaff Writer
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