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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tom Watson on Pitching from a Tight Lie

With Tom Watson leading the US Ryder Cup team this week, it only makes sense to have a playing tip from the Captain. Here's his newest tip at Golf Digest -- this one's on pitching from a tight lie (and yes, that's Rickie Fowler demonstrating in the photo):

Rickie Fowler pitching from a tight lie

Tom's simple tip for pitching from a tight lie -- that is, when there's no cushion of grass under the ball -- is to move the ball back about an inch in your stance and make a slightly steeper stroke, to insure that you hit down on the ball. That's it. No fancy club face manipulation or other tricky stuff. He says if you hit it a bit thin, you'll probably still get a good shot. (In fact, he often plays for a thin shot.)

He says to practice short pitches first, in order to get a feel for the shot, then move on to longer clubs. Here's the video he included; you can also see it at the above link if it doesn't embed properly:

Tom also suggests pitching into a crosswind rather than riding the wind. He says that the wind affects short shots more than most people expect, especially after the ball lands. Pitching into the wind minimizes the rollout.

You know, I bet the coolest part of being on the Ryder Cup team is being able to have Tom show you how to play these kinds of shots in person.

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