Achieve Consistent Distances by Practicing Your Pitch Shot!
The difference between a pitch shot and a chip shot.
A “pitch shot” is a shot played with a highly lofted club that is designed to go a relatively short distance with a steep ascent and steep descent.
Pitch shots are played into the green and are typically about 40-50 yards or closer.
It’s easy to picture a pitch shot when it is contrasted with the chip shot.
A “chip shot” is usually played from closer to the green and the ball is in the air only a short amount of time. The goal is to get the ball onto the surface of the green and let it roll toward the cup.
Most of a chip shot is roll. A pitch shot, on the other hand, is in the air for most of its distance, with much less roll once it hits the ground; a pitch shot also goes much higher in the air than a chip shot.
Pitch shots are usually played with a pitching wedge. However there are other wedges including the gap wedge, sand wedge and lob wedge which all have higher lofts than a pitching wedge.
Generally, if you have the option of hitting a chip shot or a pitch shot, it’s best for most golfers to go with a chip shot.
But you don’t always have an option. When you need to get the ball up in the air quickly; when there is rough or other problem areas between you and green and therefore roll is not possible. A pitch shot is also appropriate when you want the ball to come down with a steep angle of descent and therefore hit the green without much roll.
“What’s a short game shot?” The short game starts at half the average carry distance of your highest lofted club.
Basically they’re the same swing, just usually performed with different clubs. Keep in mind that your environment can also turn chips into pitches and pitches into chips. The difference between a simple stock pitch and a simple stock chip is NOT related to technique.
Achieve Consistent Distances on Pitch Shots with 7-8-9 Drill
Many amateurs struggle once they’re within 50 yards of the green. Most of them will say it’s because they don’t have the time to practice.
The more you practice, the more you’ll develop feel.
The 7-8-9 Method is a drill for pitch shots that requires a little practice initially, but once you have established your distances you will be able to rely on it in the future.
01 The 7 O’Clock Position
Begin by picturing the hours of a clock
Imagine as you address the ball that you have a large clock in front of you.
Learn to swing your left arm (for right-handed golfers) to the various “hours” of the clock as a way of controlling the distance on your pitch shots.
It’s important to remember to slightly cock your wrist. This will help deliver a slightly downward blow through the shot.
Practice hitting pitch shots by taking the club back to the 7 o’clock position until you can consistently hit shots a certain distance. This will become your 7 o’clock shot.
02 The 8 O’Clock Position
Practice hitting shots swinging your left arm to 8 o’clock and note your distances. Swing with a consistent tempo and you will learn what distance is associated with your 8 o’clock position. This will become your 8 o’clock shot.
03 The 9 O’Clock Position
Practice the same as the first two shots, while swinging your arm to 9 o’clock.
Finish off swinging the arm to 10 o’clock and you will now have four specific distances that you can consistently pitch the ball. Distances will vary from player to player as in full shots, but once you have them established you have a tried-and-true method on which to rely.
Once you practice the 7-8-9 drill enough, you’ll be more confident when you’re 40 yards from the flag.
Why? Because you know that’s your X o’clock shot. Swing your arm to that position and the ball is going to go about 40 yards.
Three general, but very important rules on the pitch shot.
- Weight on Front Foot: At address the majority of weight is on the front foot. This is important to help you not only keep your body steady during the swing but to help you impart the downward blow that is important in creating the backspin you want on this shot. Keep your weight on the front foot even at the top of your backswing.
- Consistent Pace to Swing: It is important that the pace of the swing be consistent throughout. It’s no good to swing slowly through one shot and then quickly through the next. You’ll get very inconsistent results. Try to imagine a pendulum and the way it moves backward and forward at the same pace. Try to feel this in all of your pitch shots.
- Follow Through: It’s important to follow through. Do not stop your follow through on this shot or you will constantly come up short. The follow through should finish at about 3 o’clock.