How to Make Pitches Bite

By Steve Silverman

The pitching wedge is a great club to learn to use. Most beginners love it because it is reasonably easy to hit. If you hit it with a smooth and rhythmic swing, the ball will fly up in the air, and that's a satisfying feeling for any beginner. But once you get more acclimated to the game, you will want more than a nice-looking shot. You want results. You want a shot that lands softly on the green and bites.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Step 1
Take your pitching wedge when you are 80 to 100 yards from the hole. Square yourself to the flagstick and make sure you rotate your hips when you bring back the club. You do not want to use just your arms on this shot. Rotate your hips forward and let your hands come through. To ensure your shot holds on the green, finish high with your hands to make sure the ball has backspin.
Step 2
Take your gap wedge when you are 50 to 80 yards from the hole. The gap wedge has a greater angle of loft (49 to 54 degrees) than the pitching wedge. It will send the ball higher in the air and should stop fairly easily. But you need a high finish to ensure you have put sufficient backspin on the ball and it will stop.
Step 3
Take your lob wedge if you are closer than 50 yards from the hole. Some golfers like to chip from this distance if there are no hazards between the ball and the flagstick. But if there are, take your lob wedge and open your shoulders so you are almost looking directly at the hole. A well-struck ball with a lob wedge should land within 8 feet of the hole and stick. Again, you need a high finish to get your ball to stop.
Step 4
Go to the driving range and practice with all your wedges. This is not about hitting the ball hard and trying to get distance. This is about touch and getting your ball to stop as close to the hole as possible.
Step 5
Work with a clean pitching wedge, gap wedge or lob wedge. This is very important. The grooves on the face of the club need to be free of debris. Take the pointed end of a tee and go along the grooves of the club with it. This will get the dirt and debris out of the face of the club.

Tips & Warnings

You need a smooth, deliberate swing when you are using your wedges from the fairway and you want the ball to bite.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.


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