Pitching Wedge Techniques

By Steve Silverman

golfer with a tap in putt
The pitching wedge is one of the most important clubs a golfer can learn to use. While building a repeatable swing is probably the most important factor when it comes to playing the game for a lifetime's worth of enjoyment, learning how to play the short game -- when you are 100 yards or less from the green -- is key to scoring well.

The pitch shot

In order to hit a solid shot from your pitching wedge when you are 80-to-100 yards from the green, you have to learn to swing down on the ball to make it fly high. Take your club back with a full back swing, shift your weight forward and come down on the ball. Make sure you hit through the ball and follow through. A well-struck pitch shot will fly high and come down softly. Once you learn how to hit your pitch shot, you should be able to land the ball within 20 feet of the flag. Alternatively, adding some backspin to short pitch shot can cause the ball to move very little after landing, a technique used to set up accurate putts.

The chip shot

Learning to chip can be a very effective tool when your are within 50 feet of the green. Instead of trying to pitch the ball high in the air and having it land softly, you will bring the club back to your knee and strike the ball without breaking your wrists and stop your swing by the time the club reaches mid-calf. Your ball will jump in the air and then bounce and roll toward the flag. The chip is an excellent shot to use when there are no hazards -- water or sand -- between your ball and the flagstick. It works especially well when you are hitting uphill toward the green.

Elongated putt

Use your pitching wedge when you are just off the fringe of the green. Line your shot up as if were a putt and then stroke the ball in putting fashion. Since you are using a club with a loft, the ball will hop up in the air at the start and then come down and roll the rest of the way toward the flagstick.

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.