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cipher

How should you play this pitch shot?

29 posts in this topic

I was playing in a little friendly club tournament yesterday.  I hit a nice drive on a hole(I was shocked) and only had about 65 yards left or so to the pin.  It was about 40-50 yards to the front of the green.  Conditions were dry, hard and fast.  The green slopes back to front at about 1-2% slope for most of it so not too severe.  The pin is set about three paces off the back.  You have a clear shot at the pin with fairway running all the way up to the green and no real trouble between you an the flag.  If you try and get to the pin with a wedge there is a chance that you can fly it too far, bound it over the back which is a shaved area that will run down into the rough about 5 yards off the green, short siding yourself.  You will then have to play something back up and on to the green that is now sloping away from you.  I played a PW to the front of the green stupidly thinking it was going to release to the middle, it did not.  It spun and stopped right on the front of the green.

I see a couple ways to play this, maybe there are more.  Keep in mind the conditions and that your ball is spinning a lot on good contact and with the condition of the hard greens.

One you play a lower trajectory spinner shot that will be easy to predict the landing area and checks up.  Maybe a pitching/gap wedge that lands 1/3 of the way on to the green let it take one bounce and spin and stop in the middle, hit two putts and get out of there.

Or do you play a 7 or 8 iron or something like that to the front edge and let it that you know should release and get maybe a little closer to the hole?   What would you do?

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I would have played a half p wedge if you were looking for a par. If you really wanted a good shot at bird I would hit a 3/4 LW.
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I'm gonna hit a little gap wedge to land dead center of the green. It isn't going to release much, but the miss long is too penal to take a chance. If it does release a bit, I'm golden, but I'm good either way.
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I would play conservatively toward the middle of the green maybe a little farther back because of the hard green. I would use a 60* LW since I tend to know how hard to swing to get it the prper distance. If the greens were soft, I'd attack the pin more. Pitch and run is a bit unpredictable and long isn't good.
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I am a "pro roll" kind of golfer. By that I mean I like to roll the ball to the hole more than I like to fly it to the hole. I have better distance control when I'm able to roll the ball. Plus, I can use the green's terrain to my advantage just like in putting. You said there were not many problems between the ball and the hole. Since it's 65 yards to the pin, and slightly up hill, based on my prior practice, and play, I am going to use a <3/4 swing 8i,  landing the ball just short of the green and watching it roll towards the hole. A sort of punch shot if you will. If the grass has not been mowed for a while I might use a 7i for the same shot. My swing thought for this shot would be to make sure my hands are definitely in front of the club face at impact.

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I played with a guy yesterday would might have putted it.  He made Martin Kaymer seem reluctant to use the putter hitting it out of the rough, scrub grass and anything else within about 30 yards of the green.

For me, it might depend on my mood and what I was most comfortable with at the time- likely anything from 9i to 60 degree.  I doubt I would hit something that was designed to land short of the green, but could see myself landing towards the front or middle and trying to let it run back to the pin.

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I'd hit a scoopy pitch with a 54 wedge right at it. Drop soft and be somewhat close. Here a roller from that far would be unpredictable. Landing short of the green could stall it or kick it off-line. That's the shot I don't get cute with, I could see blading it over the green so I let the wedge do the work.

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I would have played a half p wedge if you were looking for a par. If you really wanted a good shot at bird I would hit a 3/4 LW.

Same here, except I would have use a gap wedge instead of the PW.

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First of all, I'd assess the risk/reward of going for the flag. Being close to the green doesn't necessarily mean one can be aggressive. Sometimes the green contours and flag placement makes it too hard, and one is better off with the safe option and hope for a good putt, or at worst a two putt for par.

I usually use a 58º or 52º from that distance, sometimes a lesser lofted wedge if I don't want to go as high, but that would include the risk of going long. It all depends how comfortable you are with the various options. If you are very comfortable about hitting a lower trajectory to get it up there, go for it.

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Low traj pitching wedge. Halfway up the green.
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Obviously I can't completely visualize based on what you are saying, but I would probably have either played my 58* low trajectory spinner or a 52* with the same type of shot, but it would just roll out a little more. When I'm 25-125 yards, I use the 58 and 52 almost exclusively.
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48° wedge, stock shot (mostly Full Swing Motion type mechanics with a little pitch to add a bit of speed at the ball), maybe a bit lower and with a tad more spin. One hop, maybe two, check, and release. If it just checks, I'm 20 feet short. If it releases, I'm good. It shouldn't go long at all, though, unless it hits a firm spot or something and bounces hard while losing all of its spin (and by hard I mean very hard, since I already read that the greens are firm).

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Distance to the pin is about a 1/2 PW for me. Given the greens are hard, I won't get much bite on a half wedge - probably a little check plus release.

Depending on the contour of the front fringe, I might hit an 8i chip and run. The fringe area would have to deaden the bump shot coming in, or as per cipher's warning the ball could roll over the green.

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1/2-3/4 52 degree wedge, ball middle of the stance. Play it for a couple hops and a little release since greens are firm. Wouldn't go with the 7 or 8 iron, have to be too exact with the landing area and it's not a shot I hit very much, a 45 yard 8 iron.

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I would hit either a SW or a PW just depending on what mood I was in, and I would be fully expecting either shot to be close to the hole and would be disapointed with anything less. Expecting to be able to hit either shot and actually doing it are not always one and the same but I wouldn't second guess my decision either way. If it didn't work it wouldn't be the first time (nor the last time) that my best laid plans fell apart. ;-)
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At 45-50 yards, I'd choke down a bit and pitch it with my PW. It's a short motion for me with that club so it's fairly consistent and it comes out a little lower with more spin. I'm not looking to fly it to the pin and I should be able to hold it, even on a firm green. It's actually a pretty comfortable yardage for me because I've hit that shot time and time again.
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52 wedge pitch shot or 1/2 shot depending on the lie. The pitch shot will roll out a bit more because it will have less spin. I have been working on the 1/2 shots since reading that chapter in LSW. My half 52 is right around 50 yards
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Unless you practice that bump and run 7/8 iron a fair amount your probably better with landing a pitch on the front and letting it release, I play a dry course also and that seems to work the best.

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