Pitching Mechanics

Better pitching is a matter of perfecting your address positions



High Pitches: Really Open Up
To hit a high lobber to a tight pin, first narrow and open your stance, which includes both your feet and shoulders. Second, make sure your clubface is open as well. (By open, I mean grip the club with the clubface open, don’t open the face with your hands.) The ball is likely to fly where the clubface is facing, so open your stance so the clubface is facing the target. You’re probably wondering how open you should be. Ahh, that’s where you need to put some work in around the practice greens. Your optimal blend of body and clubface openness requires some trial and error. Just remember that the shot calls for an accelerating and descending blow into the ball. Finally, play the ball forward in your stance and stand a little further away. If you really want to pop it up, allow for some negative shaft lean away from the target. Dicey? Yes. Fun? Also yes, as long as you practice this shot often.


 


 

 

Don’t hunch or sink over your pitch shots. Stay athletic!

Other than the clubhead, there isn’t much movement.  

Let your wrists cock as soon as they reach your waist.  

See the L shape? You want this position with every shot.  

 

 

 

 

The weight shifted some and I’m now centered on the ball.   

The wrists are still cocked. This is a good sign.  

The hands are in front of the ball before and  at impact.  

The club is between my arms. Hence, I didn’t flip my wrists.  

 

 

 

 

Well past impact, the hands can finally start to release.  

Even this far into the swing, my head is still rock-steady.

My right knee is closer to the target.  

I made it to the finish
facing my body at the ball.


The Swing Sequence
The cool thing about all three pitch shots is that they’re very similar as far as the swing itself goes. In looking at these photos, I want you to pay special attention to my body and club position just before and after impact. Hitting good pitches requires you to keep your hands in front of the ball through impact. After contact, you want to limit the release of the hands to promote better spin and directional control. See how my right knee bends toward the target through impact? That’s a sure sign I’ve not only rotated my body, but it also indicates I’ve hit the ball with a descending blow.

Jeff Yurkiewicz, PGA, is the head golf professional at the Kostis/McCord Learning Center at Grayhawk GC in Scottsdale, Ariz. 




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