Improve Your Golf Pitching Problems 1

So you have hit a fantastic tee shot straight down the middle of the fairway and you only have 75 yards left on to the green. All you have to do is play a three quarter pitch shot on to the green, ideally close to the flag to make the best possible chance to make a birdie.

Sounds simple, however even the most basic of pitch shots can be a problem for golfers who do not play the shot correctly and most effectively. This then leads to lack of confidence and errors start to slip in. What used to be a very simple an easy shot has now become many golfer's nightmare shot. This tip is designed to help with your issues and help you overcome your pitching problems.

Fault - Many golfers play the pitch shot with the wrong part of the sole of the golf club, normally using the leading edge to make contact with the ground, therefore digging the leading edge into the turf too much resulting in inconsistent connections and poor strikes. In turn, this poor technique can cause lack of confidence and flow to the pitching technique.

Cure - It is very important to set up to the pitch shot in the correct manner to allow the club to strike the ball on a slight descending blow into the golf ball, without digging into the ground. The main factors to a great set up when pitching is to set up with the aim being to minimize the power created by the body and the golf club to help control the golf shot more effectively. One area of the golf swing that helps create power is the width of the stance, so make sure you narrow your stance to minimize the amount of power that can be applied. Also, the distance away from the golf ball creates power so stand slightly closer to the golf ball to minimize this power source too. Standing slightly closer helps with a more upright golf swing to help impart a downward blow into the golf ball.

Key tip - Apply about 60% of your body weight on to the front side and keep it on the front foot for the duration of the golf shot. This will help with a slight descending strike to promote a clean contact.

Key point - Use the bounce on your golf wedge to help cleaner strikes. Most modern wedges now have a bounce angle on the bottom of the golf club (bounce is the angle difference between the leading edge and the trailing edge). Bounce angle is used to help the golf club exit the ground once the club has entered the surface. To use the bounce angle most effectively, we have to feel like the trailing edge of the golf club is making contact with the ground as opposed to the leading edge digging into the floor. When you set up to a practice shot, aim to skim the floor with the trailing edge of the sole of the wedge.

You should notice the golf club slides effortlessly across the surface without much friction. This method will really help you to make a cleaner contact when pitching from any surface on the golf course.

How to Improve Your Golf Pitching Problems

How to Improve Your Golf Pitching Problems

When you head to the local driving range to work on your game, do you take time to practice your pitching? If you are like most amateur golfers, the answer to that question is probably 'no'. Most players don't bother to work on their pitching, as they are too concerned with things like hitting long drives, making short putts, etc. And, of course, there is nothing wrong with working on those parts of your game. However, you need to have a well-rounded game if you are going to shoot low scores. In order to build that well-rounded game, you will want to spend at least some of your practice time learning how to pitch the ball properly.

Despite the fact that pitching is often ignored during practice sessions, it actually is a skill which is called on quite often on the course. When you miss a green, you may get close enough to hit a simple chip shot – or you might need to hit a pitch. There is no exact definition for what is a chip and what is a pitch, but any shot played from between 10 – 30 yards from the target is usually thought of as a pitch. Without the right technique available to handle this type of shot, you may find that these are some of the trickiest positions on all of the course to find yourself. Rather than playing in fear of leaving your ball in this range, learn how to pitch properly and turn a weakness into a strength.

The best way to think about pitching is to imagine it as a miniature version of your full swing. You are going to use the same basic setup and stance, although everything will be tightened up since you are only making a small move through the ball. In fact, learning how to pitch is a great review for the basics of your full swing, since you are going to be in many of the same positions. If you are having trouble with your full swing, try hitting some pitch shots to remind yourself to get back to the fundamentals. When you are able to pitch the ball using a small version of your regular swing, you will have more consistency throughout the bag.

In this article, we are going to provide you with a variety of advice related to properly pitching the ball. There will be tips on both the physical and mental side of this topic, as you have to think properly when pitching, just as you need to have reliable mechanics. Many amateur golfers have a mental hurdle to get over when it comes to the prospect of pitching the ball – hopefully, the advice which follows in this article will help you get over that hurdle.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play golf left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Basic Pitching Technique

Basic Pitching Technique

To start, we are going to lay the groundwork for solid pitching technique. You should have a clear picture of how to pitch the golf ball before you ever arrive at the practice area, or your time will be wasted. By having a great understanding of the goal you are working towards, you can put your time to good use. There is more to hitting good pitch shots than just technique, but this is the logical place to start. Once you master the basics, you can move on to other important subjects related to this kind of shot.

The key elements in solid pitching technique are listed below.

  • A balanced stance. Everything in golf should start with a balanced stance. No matter what kind of shot you are trying to hit, putting yourself in a balanced position is going to give you the best possible chance for success. When pitching the ball, you want to stand relatively tall with an upright posture in your upper body. Make sure your knees are flexed, and keep your chin up away from your chest. Some golfers get sloppy with their stance when pitching, as they don't think the swing is long enough to have to worry about their stance. Obviously, this is a mistake. Your stance is always important, regardless of the length of shot at hand. Settle into a balanced stance before you put the club in motion and pitching the ball will immediately get easier.
  • Hands in front of the ball. You should have your hands slightly in front of the ball at impact when pitching – which means you should have your hands in front of the ball at address as well. Start with your hands just slightly past the ball and then return them to that position as you swing through the shot. It is important to hit down through impact on pitch shots, and getting your hands past the ball is the only way to do that. With your hands in front of the ball and the club head moving down through impact, you will be able to miss any grass which may be sitting behind the ball – meaning you can achieve a cleaner strike, and a better shot overall.
  • Watch the ball through impact. One of the very first golf tips you likely received was to keep your eyes on the ball. While there is more to playing good golf than just watching the ball, this certainly is an important point. When pitching, you might be tempted to look up early to see how you have done. Of course, by looking up, you will run the risk of ruining your shot. Instead of taking your eyes off the ball, be patient and watch the top of the ball all the way through impact. Once the ball is gone, you are free to look up to see where it is going. It is harder to be disciplined on this point while on the course than it is in practice, so remind yourself of this key before hitting any on-course pitch shot.
  • Play the ball in the middle of your stance. This is a tip which applies to 'standard' pitch shots played from a clean lie. There will be occasions when it will be necessary to move the ball either forward or back in your stance, and those instances will be addressed later in this article. For now, it is important to understand that you should be playing most of your pitch shots from the middle of your stance. This ball position will allow for a clean hit which imparts plenty of backspin on the ball. No matter what club you happen to be using for your pitch shots, playing from the middle of your stance is usually the right idea.

There is nothing complicated about the technique you need to use when pitching the ball. In fact, if your technique is complicated, you are doing it wrong. This should be a simple move from start to finish, with as few moving parts as possible. Simplicity is going to breed consistency, and consistency is always your friend on the golf course. Review the points above before your next practice session and you should be able to take your pitching performance in the right direction.

The Right Mindset

The Right Mindset

Your success or failure in the short game is largely going to come down to the way you think. If you have your mind in the right place prior to hitting short shots, you should be able to succeed more often than not. If you are thinking negatively, however – or if you aren't thinking at all – it will be hard to place the ball close to the target. Learn how to use your mind properly when pitching and the fear that is often associated with these kinds of shots will quickly fade away.

So what should you be thinking about while pitching? Try using the following tips.

  • Focus your mind on a specific target. This is by far the number one mistake made by amateur golfers who struggle with their pitching. When the average golfer stands over the ball to hit a pitch shot, what is he or she aiming at? The hole, of course. There is only one problem with that line of thinking – the hole is not actually your target for the shot. Unless you expect the ball to stop immediately where it lands, you need to be aiming for a spot somewhere short of the hole. That is your true target for the shot, and that is where you should be focusing your attention. Before you ever walk up to take your stance, you should first work on picking out a landing spot for the pitch. Then, as you settle in to make your swing, keep that landing spot in mind and use it as a point of focus. As long as you hit that spot, the rest should take care of itself.
  • Call on your practice experience. Practicing your short game is not just about drilling your technique. Perhaps more importantly, it is about building up your confidence so you can perform properly on the course. When you find yourself facing a tough pitch shot on the course, think back to a similar pitch shot that you have played in practice. Calling on the successes you have had in practice will make the challenges you face on the course seem a little less daunting. Of course, if this method is going to work, you have to actually practice your pitching in the first place. Carve out part of each practice session for pitching practice so you can have plenty of confidence available when the time comes.
  • Clear your mind. One of the problems faced by many amateur golfers is failing to ever actually focus on the task at hand before hitting a shot. This is an innocent mistake which actually stems from nothing more than having fun with your friends. As you walk up the fairway toward your ball near the green, you will probably be chatting about various golf or non-golf related topics with your buddies. Then, as you prepare to hit your shot, you may fail to shift your mind back into 'golf mode'. In many ways, you will be playing the shot on auto-pilot. As you might imagine, that is not a great way to play this difficult game. Golf requires total focus if you are to be successful, so make sure to restore your focus before moving forward. There is nothing wrong with chatting with your friends or playing partners as you move around the course, but always remember that you need to get back to business before hitting a shot.
  • Expect success. There are really only two ways to go when you get ready to hit a pitch shot – you can either expect to be successful, or you can expect to fail. Unfortunately, most amateur golfers fall into the latter category. They are afraid of these kinds of shots, and they expect them to turn out badly as a result. Planning on failure is no way to play this game. Not only will such a negative attitude have a harmful effect on the quality of your game, it will also make your time on the course less enjoyable. There is no reason to think so negatively, so expect to hit a great shot every single time you stand over the ball. It won't always happen, but your positivity will improve your performance as a whole.

It is easy to overlook the importance of the mental side of golf when it comes to the short game. After all, this part of the game seems so simple – you don't have to hit the ball hard, and the mechanics of your technique aren't particularly complicated. However, the mental side of the game is always important, no matter how far you are trying to hit a given shot. Dial in your mental game and watch your results improve almost immediately.

Adding Variety to Your Pitching

Adding Variety to Your Pitching

In baseball, a pitcher needs to have a variety of pitches available in order to get the batters out. While this is a different kind of pitching, the concept is the same. Since you are going to face a number of different situations on the course, you need to know how to produce a few different pitch shots when the moment is right. Adding variety to your pitching game will make it easier to get around various golf courses safely.

The following list includes some of the basic chip shot variations you need to consider.

  • High-lofted pitch shot. When you don't have much green to work with, you will want to take the ball in higher in order to stop it quicker. To play the ball higher through the air, move your ball position up closer to your left foot. Also, open the face of your wedge slightly at address to add loft to the club. From there, make your usual swing, being careful to keep your eyes down on the ball. As long as you make clean contact, you should be able to sweep the ball cleanly off the turf and up into the air.
  • Pitch and run. This next shot is just the opposite as the previous option. When you want to pitch the ball down low to the ground to provide it with plenty of bounce and roll, the adjustments you make will not be surprising. You are going to need to move the ball back in your stance, and you will want to close the club face slightly. If you aren't comfortable closing the club face, consider using one less club in order to produce a lower flight. You are going to get a tremendous amount of run out with this play, so be sure to give the ball plenty of room to work.
  • Pitch from the deep rough. Hopefully, this is a shot that you don't need to call on very often. When you do find your ball down in the deep rough, however, you are going to need to know how to get yourself out of trouble as soon as possible. To adjust your pitching technique to deal with this situation, start by opening your stance to the target. Also, open the club face slightly and choke down on the grip of your wedge. Basically, you are going to play this shot like an explosion shot out of the sand. You are going to make a big swing, and you are going to attempt to move the club under the ball. If all goes well, the ball will pop up and out of the grass, and it will hopefully land on the green. This shot is never going to be particularly easy, but it can be handled more times than not when you use the right technique.

As you practice your pitching at the local course, work on learning a variety of shots in order to add to your repertoire. You should work on each of the three shots above, but you should work on your own creations, as well. Think outside the box, try different techniques, and see what you can come up with. You never know when you might invent a handy pitch shot which is able to help you knock the ball close to the hole from time to time.

Pitch Shot Troubleshooting

Pitch Shot Troubleshooting

Even when armed with quality advice, many golfers continue to struggle with the skill of pitching the ball onto the green. If you find that your ability in this area is not progressing as you would like, you may be getting caught up on one of the common pitching problems. Below, we have listed a few common problems, along with potential solutions.

  • Hitting the ball thin. Most often, thin pitch shots are the result of moving your head up and out of the shot prematurely. When you move your head early, your shoulders are likely to lift up as well, and the leading edge may catch the ball rather than the actual face of the club. When this problem plagues your game, focus on keeping your eyes on the ball until impact. This tip sounds simple, but it is the only thing that works.
  • Hitting the ball too far. Many golfers struggle to control their distance on pitch shots. If you hit the ball cleanly, it is easy to send it beyond the target when only starting from 20 or 30 yards away. To avoid hitting the ball too far, choke down on the club for control and do your best to focus on a specific landing spot. Distance control is the key to good short game play, so spend plenty of time working on your skill in this area.
  • Chunking pitch shots. For many golfers, this is their big fear when they stand over a pitch shot. They are afraid that they will catch the ground prior to the ball, moving the shot only a few feet in front of them in the end. Obviously, this is one of the worst possible outcomes for the shot, so it should be avoided at all costs. To make sure you don't hit the ball fat, resist the temptation to help the ball up into the air. Most golfers hit fat shots because they are trying to lift the ball – when in reality, the ball does not need to be lifted. The wedge you are holding has plenty of loft to get the ball up into the air all on its own. Hit down through the shot and watch the ball sail easily toward the target.

Pitching is an area of the game which is often overlooked, but that shouldn't be the case much longer for you. If you are willing to focus in on this important skill, you can improve your performance around the greens in short order. With improved pitching now a reality, your scores will quickly trend in the right direction. Good luck!