Golf Pitching Techniques

By Steve Silverman

The short game in golf is the key to improving a golfer's score. Hitting the ball off the tee and hitting it from the fairway and short rough are important, but the ability to hit good shots when approaching the green and not wasting birdie and par opportunities are the key to scoring well.

Full pitching wedge

When the ball sits anywhere from 80 to 100 yards from the green, the golfer can use his pitching wedge to go for the green. From this distance a full swing with a follow through is required. The pitching wedge has a loft of between 45 and 48 degrees. When the golfer swings down on the ball and follows through fully, the ball will fly high in the air and land softly on the green. If struck correctly, the ball will land 10 to 18 feet from the hole and stop quickly.


A golfer with a shot of 50 yards or closer can hit a bump-and-run shot to the flagstick. This shot does not fly high. Instead, the ball is pitched forward without backspin, takes one or two hops and then continues to roll toward the flagstick. This shot is especially effective when there are no hazards in the way of the shot and the shot to the green is slightly uphill. Some golfer will prefer to use clubs with even more loft like the gap wedge or the lob wedge, but the pitch-and-run is an effective shot.

Elongated putt

This is an outstanding shot to use when the golfer is just off the fringe of the green. By taking his pitching wedge and choking down on the club, the golfer will "putt" it toward the green. The ball will initially jump off the face of the club, land on the green and then roll the rest of the way toward the hole.

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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