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Quickie Pitching Video - Golf Pitch Shot Technique

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Those two videos are pretty close to the way I hit pitch and chip shots. I think I have a little more pivot though, or at least it feels/looks like it. Also, can you describe what you are trying to do with your hands? They look - dare I say - like they are "deep".

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hi Erik,
just wanted to take a second to thank you for this post. I had to learn how to pitch the hard way - thru many errors and a ton of needless extra strokes. I more or less discovered how to pitch thru performing the swing almost exactly like you are showing in the video. I do believe there many ways to acomplish the same task but seeing this video really helped me confirm I am on the right path
thank you so much - there is nothing, I mean nothing worse than hitting two great shots on a par 5 but not quite making it and subsequently screwing up a 20 or 30 yard pitch
thanks man
Andrew

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Chipping: You don't use or use very little bounce. With the shaft leaning forward 14º using a 14º bounce club, there is no bounce left. This require you to be very accurate. You have to hit the ball with the leading edge under the equator or just slightly hit the ground before the ball. Too much and the leading edge will dig into the ground.

Pitching: The key is to use the bounce. If your club has 14º bounce, the shaft can not lean more forward than ~13º. If your club has 8º bounce, you can not have as much forward lean. You can hit the ball with the shaft leaning backwards, but it require more precision and the chance of blading the ball is bigger.

I would say that a key point is the amount of shaft lean at impact. A little too much and you bring the leading edge into play. We are bouncing the bounce of the club on the ground, the leading edge makes contact with the ball and not the turf. I hit some shots where I dug the club into the ground (54.12). Then I thought about the bounce and how I had the shaft so far forward there was no bounce left. So I hit some shots where I made sure the shaft was not leaning too far forward, and started hitting some great shots where the leading edge never made contact with the ground.

On full shots you usually want to hit the ball first as the club descends into it. With pitching, you are better off hitting the ground first and using the bounce. You can of course hit the ball first too, as long as it is below equator.
If you hit the ground with the bounce 1 inch behind the ball and got the shaft leaning forward some degrees, chances of success are very good. You just have to make sure you "release" the club and don't rush the hands forward so you lose the bounce. A drill can be to stand with the wedge in your hand on a wooden board. Move the shaft forward until the bounce is spent. Take a mental image of that position, because you never want the hands to get more forward than that when using the bounce with that club. Except if you open the clubface to add bounce.

Same thing with bunker play really, this is where the pros are very good and the amateurs very poor. If you have too much shaft lean in a bunker, the leading edge will start digging, and the results can pretty much be anything. If you intend to use the bounce, make sure you don't have too much forward shaft lean.

Knowing what bounce your wedge has is of course very important. A 4º bounce give you less room for error than a 14º bounce I would say. With 4º you only need 4º of forward leaning shaft to take away the bounce. Going backwards will give more bounce, but also move the leading edge higher and making the descending arc harder. Opening the clubface, or setting the hands lower, will give more bounce. With a 14º wedge, you can lean the shaft forward up to ~13º and still have a little bounce left.

Understanding the bounce is almost a requirement when learning these shots. You can be successful without, but with the knowledge, you are much better suited for getting it down.

Another little anecdote from me. I was practicing bunker play one time and just didn't get it right. I either hit the ball first and flew the green or dug into the sand and came up short. Then I started hinging the wrists more on the backswing and suddenly started hitting it great. My guess as to what happened would be that with the hinging, I also released the club more coming down, so the shaft did not lean as much forward and I used the bounce.

If anyone's interested, I've got some graphics that explain a bit about bounce and how it comes into play in a scrap folder.

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hmm I think I have been hitting pitch shots wrong, I usually take a huge divot after the ball and have the shaft leaning very far forward. I thought hitting down on the ball is what creates spin?

actually sorry dont know what Im talking about,lol. I was thinking of full sand shots. yea on pitch shots I sweep the ball up

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Erik, how to do go about hitting running pitch shots where there's a lot of green to work with. I've been playing these shots with pitching wedges and 9 irons letting the toe rotate open and trying to use less of the leading edge.

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Very helpful and thorough video, without being 12 minutes long. I've been struggling with this shot, and am playing a round tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be able to practice this a little before my round. Great video, thank you!

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I can finally hit this shot. What I do is play the ball off the lead foot. This allows the bottoming of the club to be just after the ball. Basically, the goal is to get no or barely any forward lean at impact. This is the only shot in golf where I feel like I am conciously releasing the wrist hinge and cock, almost throwing the club at the ball so I can lose the forward shaft lean and utilize bounce.

I use this shot when I am short sided or I know I need a high trajectory shot to stop the ball. I find it more difficult to judge the distance using this shot so if I have 20y to the pin and 10y of green to work with, I will play the ball close to my back foot and hit a low checker. I feel more confident with how the ball will react once it hits the green. But if I have to fly the ball over 20+y to reach the green I won't use the low checker, unless I have like 20y of green to work with.

Can't watch the 2nd video yet because I am using dial up atm. I will when I am home

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Erik, how to do go about hitting running pitch shots where there's a lot of green to work with. I've been playing these shots with pitching wedges and 9 irons letting the toe rotate open and trying to use less of the leading edge.

You can vary the club, sure. I tend to prefer to use the same club (54 degree sand wedge) but that's a different school of thought that's a bit irrelevant to the method (as you know)...

For a lower shot I'll put the handle ahead at setup first. If I need a lower shot still that isn't quite a chip I'll simply maintain slightly firmer wrists through the ball, which will naturally be a shade of a chip shot (elbows not quite as close to the body, less folding of wrists and elbows). If I need to hit the ball fairly low, frankly, I'll play a regular chip if the conditions allow for it.
This is the only shot in golf where I feel like I am conciously releasing the wrist hinge and cock, almost throwing the club at the ball so I can lose the forward shaft lean and utilize bounce.

Just be careful - if it goes too far along these lines you'll start to get "hitty" or "wristy" when I prefer the feeling that there's no muscles added - just gravity and a pivot.

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True, maybe it is more of a gravity sensation. All I know is at impact with this shot the shaft seems almost perpendicular to the ground.

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I finally got a chance to try out these drills yesterday at the range. Great video and some great "thoughts" to have when executing it. Thanks.

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At risk of looking and sounding like a hoover vacuum cleaner I would like to say thanks to David and Erik for this video. For the past two years I'd been doggedly attempting to pitch with the ball back in my stance and with a putting motion. Contact was, to say the least, inconsistent and chunks, thins and heel/toe contact with varied results were the reward. With a bit of practice in the off season in my backyard I put this into play on my first two 9 hole rounds with great success. My ball striking has improved, but as a high index player my ball striking flat out doesn't get it done, but my (as of right now) consistent short game has me off and running with a +4 40 and a + 6 42. I like those 4 foot par savers a lot better than the 15-20 footer for par! Thanks.

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A couple things: One, I can't see the second video, not sure why.

Two:

I'm not sure I agree with you Iacas or at least I can't wrap my head around using the bounce of the club from really tight lies. I spent the first of years playing just not being able to hit shots very well off hardpan or dirt lies. It wasn't until I read something about avoiding the bounce in the club was I able to hit this shot with any consistency. I close the face a bit and lean the club forward to hide the bounce and catch the ball first with the leading edge.

I've actually seen some good illustrations online that show how the bounce causes the leading edge to float too high and near the balls equator requiring a very precise angle to avoid the dreaded skulled shot. I know it can be done, I can pick a ball off cement using the bounce  but not with any consistency or control.

What was the downside to digging again? I've been practicing like crazy in my yard with my new vokey wedges and I seem to get the most control from taking some sizable divots, even on 20-30 yard pitches.

seems to be the popular advice:   A quick search on bounce and tight lies contradicts the advice to use bounce.

I've been trying to follow Stan Utley's advice on pitches regarding using the bounce to skim the wedge along the ground, which works great in fluffy lies, but I really don't get how that's supposed to work in a tight lie. Every time I try to pitch without hitting the ball first on a hard fairway, I skull it horribly.  --> http://thesandtrap.com/forum/thread/20206/short-pitches-on-tight-lies HEY! :)



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There are two ways to hit these kind of shots. A pitch and a chip.

On a pitch, you slide the club under the ball, often hitting the ground before the ball. This will send the ball higher and create less spin.

When chipping, you hit the ball first, it will come out lower and have more backspin.

You can play both from all lies, it's a matter of having the proper technique. Pitching on a tight lie does involve a risk of skulling it, but it is absolutely not impossible. You need to have the proper amount of shaft lean. So much that you don't skull it, but not so much that you dig the leading edge into the ground. I have noticed a lot of players on the tours hitting the pitch shots, even from tight lies on the fairway.

There are a lot of different tips to find on the internet, I would recommend you give pitching a go, as it can be useful to learn, but it is up to each what kind of shot they want to use. I use both, depending on what kind of shot is needed. Generally I hit chip shots with a less lofted club, PW to 8i, and pitch shots with the wedges.

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Originally Posted by Williamevanl

A couple things: One, I can't see the second video, not sure why.

It works here. You may be using Chrome. YouTube and Chrome are behaving goofy right now on Huddler. Sorry about that.

Originally Posted by Williamevanl

I've actually seen some good illustrations online that show how the bounce causes the leading edge to float too high and near the balls equator requiring a very precise angle to avoid the dreaded skulled shot. I know it can be done, I can pick a ball off cement using the bounce  but not with any consistency or control.


You do realize that the equator of the ball is over 3/4 of an inch in the air, right? How much bounce do you have exactly? :-)


Originally Posted by Williamevanl

What was the downside to digging again?

The fact that you have to be EXACT and incredibly precise in order to hit the ball crisply. That's all.

Stan Utley can hit pitch shots with 14 degrees of bounce from concrete/cement. So can I. If you're blading things, then something else is wrong. Weight not far enough forward, etc.

Put simply: bounce simply gives you a little margin for error.

Sorry I can't elaborate more. Watch the video sometime. Listen to guys like Bob Vokey, who will tell you over and over and over again that amateurs should use the bounce more often.

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Originally Posted by iacas

It works here. You may be using Chrome. YouTube and Chrome are behaving goofy right now on Huddler. Sorry about that.

You do realize that the equator of the ball is over 3/4 of an inch in the air, right? How much bounce do you have exactly? :-)

The fact that you have to be EXACT and incredibly precise in order to hit the ball crisply. That's all.

Stan Utley can hit pitch shots with 14 degrees of bounce from concrete/cement. So can I. If you're blading things, then something else is wrong. Weight not far enough forward, etc.

Put simply: bounce simply gives you a little margin for error.

Sorry I can't elaborate more. Watch the video sometime. Listen to guys like Bob Vokey, who will tell you over and over and over again that amateurs should use the bounce more often.

I'm using Internet Explorer but I also tried Firefox. You mentioned cement again. I posted a question about this back in 2008: http://thesandtrap.com/forum/thread/30702/couple-why-questions    "Another quick question. Why is it that I can chip off cement fairly easily but not off dirt?     and you said "Dirt is sticker than cement. You can skim the club along cement a little bit (and if it bounces up a groove or two the shot might still be fine), but dirt makes you nervous because there's no skimming or slight bouncing, there's just "thud-and-stick."

I know it seems more extreme to hit pitch shots of cement but thats easier than it looks. I would however like to come to Erie and challenge you from a bunch of random distances off hardpan/dirt lies/ divots, (maybe 15-40 yards), using the bounce of the club. :) Maybe just shoot a video for me.

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Originally Posted by talismand

Hmm, tried it with Chrome, Chrome+IETab plugin, Internet Explorer proper, and Firefox, and I don't see the second video either...


The video in this post? http://thesandtrap.com/forum/thread/39411/quickie-pitching-video/18#post_540140

Video shows up for me. I re-posted it so maybe it'll work for you now.

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