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Friday, August 28, 2015

Improving Your Pitches

Here's one of the Night School videos from School of Golf's Martin Hall and Sara Brown. It has some stats showing how badly high handicappers get up-and-down compared to Tour professionals, and it also has a drill to help you improve your pitching.

Martin says the key to improved pitching is solid contact. (Of course, that makes a world of difference in just about any golf shot!) You may have seen this drill before -- some of the Tour pros like Martin Kaymer use it on the range.

Please note that you don't have to use a ball for this drill. A stiff piece of foam will work, as will a balloon or a cloth bag stuffed full of rags. The idea is simply to maintain the 'Y' formed by your club, hands and forearms as you swing, and anything that lets you do that is fine.

What this drill does is teach you to swing your hands, arms and shoulders as a unit, rather than flipping the club with your hands and wrists. As Sara says, "connection" is one term that is frequently used for this. If you think about it for a minute, what this drill teaches you is that you've probably got too many moving parts in your swing. A pitching stroke is a very simple motion. Don't try so hard to hit the ball; learn how to swing the club smoothly and your pitching will improve.

And here's one quick tip: You'll make faster progress if you learn to relax your arms and shoulders as you swing. Tense muscles usually create jerky swings.

Have fun with this drill. I like drills that actually let you duplicate the entire motion of a swing rather than just learn a position. If you can hit solid pitches with this drill, it will translate directly to the course.


  1. Things to watch out for this drill, you still have to keep head back and maintain spin angle, tendency is to move head forward with the body, watch Zach Johnson's pitch in slow motion.

  2. Those things really shouldn't be a problem with this drill though, Peter. Remember, this isn't a full shot -- it's a short game shot, so you shouldn't be driving your legs much if at all. Zach has a unique problem in that his grip is so strong that he drives his legs hard on just about every shot, so he tends to do it all the time. (And yes, I think that's a flaw in his swing. It's part of the reason he needs so much short game practice.)

    If you have more of a standard grip and still have trouble with moving forward, then you're using your lower body far too much for a simple pitch.

    In short game it's about stability, not power. Leg drive really isn't needed.