To hit a perfect pitch shot you need to make a crisp, clean connection between the club face and the golf ball. Making a crisp, clean connection will result in you being able to hit your pitch shots a more consistent distance as you will transfer the club head speed directly into the golf ball.
If you do not make a clean connection, or strike, but if you hit the ground before the golf ball, then the club head speed will be transferred into the turf rather than the golf ball. This will now result in the ball not being hit as far as it would be with a clean strike and therefore it becomes very difficult to control the distance that you are hitting your pitch shots.
If you find that when you play a pitch shot, the club head digs into the turf and does not strike the ball cleanly, then consider altering the way that you are approaching these shots and work on playing the shot more with the club’s bounce, rather than its leading edge.
Technically a golf club’s bounce is the angle inscribed by the leading edge of the wedge, the sole of the club and the ground. Put in simpler terms, it just means that when the sole, or the bottom of the wedge is on the ground, it is the angle between the sole line and the ground, or the angle between the leading edge (the front bottom edge of the club face) and the ground.
If you find that you are hitting your wedges very heavy, so the club is connecting with the ground and digging into it, this may well be because you are using the leading edge, the bottom front edge of the club face, to cut into the turf too much. If this is the case then using a wedge with more bounce will really help you to hit a cleaner crisper pitch shot as bounce prevents the club head from digging into the turf. Instead it allows the club head to slide shallowly through the turf and as such you will hit a crisper shot and deliver more speed from the club head to the golf ball.
Set up to play a pitch shot using the club’s bounce, rather than the club’s leading edge, work on achieving the following. Take up a narrow stance, that is keep your feet under shoulder width apart. When playing your wedges you are playing to create balance rather than power. Wedges are a finesse shot so ensure that your stance is narrower than usual to promote balance. Place the ball in the centre of your stance and then pull your left foot directly back by about five inches, so that your left toes are level with the end of your right shoe laces. This will turn your hips to the left and towards the target and as such you will find it easier to turn your body towards the target as you play through impact and allow your arms to swing the club along the target line.
Keep your weight even between your left and right foot and set your sternum directly in line with the ball. If you set your weight more on your left foot and your sternum more to the left of the ball, then you are setting up to play the shot with the leading edge not the bounce.
Ensure that you set the shaft of the club upright rather than leaning forward, so check that your hands are positioned in line with the golf ball and not ahead of it, or to the left, as again this would encourage you to play with the leading edge.
When you now make your swing, swing more around your body with a shallow action, rather than an upright action. The lower club position as you swing will again encourage you to play with the club’s bounce and to slide the club through the turf taking a shallow divot.
Work on these points to play more with the club’s bounce and you should find that you are no longer digging the club head into the ground and struggling to hit a clean, crisp pitch shot.