Golf tip: delicate pitch shot

Having missed the green with an approach shot, the golfer is often left with a delicate pitch shot that requires the ball to get up in the air and stop fairly quickly.

Thick grass or rough often compounds the difficulty of this shot. To pitch the ball from the rough and still get the desired result, the golfer has two choices. He or she may elect to play a regular pitch shot with the realization that the ball will roll more than usual, or they may try "the flop shot."

The technique for a short pitch shot from the rough varies very slightly from the technique used from a perfect lie. Select your most lofted club, either a sand wedge or a lob wedge. The feet should be positioned slightly closer together than usual and the stance must be a little open, meaning that for a right-handed golfer the feet are aimed to the left of the target. The weight should favor the front foot and the shaft should be tilted slightly forward.

The club face should be a little open, for a right-handed golfer turn the face a few degrees to the right of the line of the target. The swing should be approximately equal distance back and through. The swing for this shot differs from a full shot in that the club must be swung on a steep angle, which matches the steep angle of the sand wedge shaft at the address position.

To encourage this steep angle, the club must be swung straight back or a little outside the target line. On the forward swing the club must swing across the target line - this is achieved by swinging the hands to the left side of the body. At the finish position, the club face must be turned slightly to the right, matching the angle formed at the address position. A full swing would have the face more vertical at this stage.

This technique is used for a regular pitch shot, to play from the rough move the ball back in the stance, even with the inside of the right foot, this promotes contact with the ball and not the thick grass. It is critical to keep the wrists firm through the swing, eliminating the possibility of the club twisting or getting stuck in the rough.

Next week it's the Tiger Woods flop shot, anyone can do it with just a little practice although this comment is not to be taken as a guarantee!

Terry Gingell is a PGA Class-A Professional with more than 20 years in the golf business. He is the owner and operator of The Golf Learning Center, an indoor golf school specializing in the use of high speed video equipment to allow in-depth and accurate analysis of the student's golf swing. The business is located at 509 Moses St. behind Capitol Ford. Send golf questions and comments to Terry Gingell, C/O Nevada Appeal Sports Department, P.O. Box 2288, Carson City, NV., 89701.


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