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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Caleb Olsen on Downhill Pitch Shots (Video)

PGA instructor Caleb Olsen teaches both uphill and downhill pitch shots in this video, but it's the downhiller that I'm interested in today. And you'll note something interesting...

Although Caleb says his downhill shoulder is lower than his uphill shoulder (that's his trailing shoulder -- left shoulder for a rightie, right shoulder for a leftie), that isn't what happens at all in this video! Caleb's downhill shoulder is clearly higher, and it's easy to see why.

To get his downhill shoulder lower, he has to lean downhill. That's a very unstable position, from which he'll have trouble making solid impact. But in this position he FEELS like he's raising his trailing shoulder; he's just not raising it as much as it feels to him.

That's why his shoulder turn is so important. Caleb is making a very shallow -- very flat -- backswing. He does bend his trailing elbow a little, but he lets his shoulders do most of the work. That lets him swing his club along the slope even though he isn't leaning forward. On a full shot, this would be a problem because he would have trouble getting any distance at all; this is a very short swing.

But this is a pitch, so he doesn't need a long swing. A short swing with very little hand and arm action gives him a very stable swing, making it much easier to make solid contact.

This is definitely something you need to practice, mainly to convince yourself how little effort you need if you do the swing properly. But it will pay dividends once you find yourself in this position.