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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Pitching with a Restricted Backswing

Golf Magazine has a really neat tip in the April issue but I have been unable to find it on the website. Therefore I have no link for you. You'll just have to settle for my version of it.

Here's a picture of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky from his page at Wikipedia. See that split grip he uses on his hockey stick? (You righthanders just reverse the hands.) This is the key to this tip.

Wayne Gretzky

Let's say you've hit your ball into some trouble and you have a restricted backswing. Maybe a tree branch is in the way, or some other form of vegetation, or an immovable obstruction like an OB fence. The best you can do with your regular stroke is knock the ball a few feet... and that's not enough.

Try this hockey-style split grip. Obviously you won't split your hands as wide as Wayne holds his hockey stick, but you can split them to the ends of the grip. You open your stance and move the ball back to the middle of your stance, and your shoulders will be tilted much more than normal because your trailing hand is lower on the club. Then you just cock your wrists quickly and make a "slap shot" with your club.

This will take a bit of practice, but you just focus on really using your trailing hand while your lead hand keeps the club steady or even moves slightly backward. You can create a lot of speed this way, which will help you get more distance from that restricted backswing.

One caveat: Golf Magazine says you don't want to use this tip on a full swing.


  1. The latter is a chipping method that has since been banned