3 Keys To Better Pitching

In this video, tour coach Liam James offers three keys to better pitching to help you get up and down more often

PGA pro Liam James hitting a pitch shot at the London Club
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Keeping things simple and consistent are the keys to improved distance control from 40 to 100 yards. In the video and article below, renowned tour coach Liam James runs through a few things sure to help your pitching.

1. The clock face drill

The ability to turn three shots into two more often when pitching can be vital to keeping your score going. The real keys to pitching well are consistency in both set-up and execution. If you spend time honing the clock face drill recommended here, you will take the guesswork out of pitching by knowing how far the ball will go and not getting too concerned about tempo. 

With different backswing lengths and a variety of the best wedges, you’ll be able to pitch the ball any distance required.

2. The set-up

The really important thing for distance control is the loft you present to the ball at impact. The more consistent your set-up, the better your distance control. I would recommend setting the ball position in the middle of your stance so it’s almost in line with your shirt buttons. 

PGA pro Liam James setting up to hit a shot at the London Club

Put the ball in the middle of your stance and lean the shaft forward a little

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Then, make sure the butt end of the club and your hands are fractionally further forward than the clubhead. Keep these two things consistent and you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of pitching well.

3. Execution

The clock face is a very simple idea built around backswing length when pitching. I would recommend two key positions - 9 o’clock, where your left arm is parallel to the ground, and 10 o’clock, where the left arm goes a little further on an imaginary clock face. A full pitch would be 11 o’clock. 

PGA pro Liam James hitting a pitch shot at the London Club

Use the 9 o'clock position (left) and the 10 o'clock position (right) to help with distance control

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Hit these positions consistently and your distance control will improve rapidly. It’s how those positions feel to you that matters rather than if they’re absolutely bang on. Make a note of how far the ball goes with each wedge for each of these backswing positions.

Don’t slow down

The clock face will encourage you to keep accelerating rather than committing the cardinal sin of slowing down into the ball, which leads to inconsistent striking.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X