The Lost Art of Pitching
Hi, my name is Christopher Toulson and I am the Director of Instruction here at the Jim McLean Golf School at the Doral Resort and Spa here in Miami, Florida. I am going to give you some pointers and tips on pitching the ball. Pitching we have actually deemed at our school the lost art. We find folks that come to our school are really at a loss at being able to pitch the ball effectively. Pitching I find is important really for two reasons, one almost every hole you are going to be faced with some version of a pitch, whether it is a 10 yard pitch or a 50 yard pitch, and also secondly, pitching is important because it is a mini swing.
Pitching with Success
If you can improve your pitching you will improve your full swing. Here are some common denominators that all great pitchers have.
- First of all we want you setting up for success. Like all the other shots in golf, getting into a good set up is at least half the battle.
- When you hit a pitch shot your feet are going to be close together, I would say just right underneath your hips.
- The ball position is in the center and your weight is about 60 percent over on your left leg. The club shaft is going to lean and point over at the crease in your front leg of your pants. It is alright to be in a little bit of an open stance, meaning that your left foot is pulled back a little bit.
- During the swing you want to keep your weight on your left leg. There is no weight shift in the pitch shot. Your weight is going to stay on your left leg.
- What is bringing the club back is a wrist hinge and my arms, and you would like your right arm to fold up. It is imperative that we get this clubhead up.
- On the through-swing here the key is not so much arms, wrists, but now it is our body, more specifically my belt buckle. Making sure my belt buckle leads the parade here and gets pointing at my target. We have a pitching mantra that we use here: hinge, turn, and hold. Hinge the club up with your wrists and right arm. Turn your belt buckle, and have some resistance, and hold your finish. I will hit a couple.
Practice with an Obstacle
One thing that is very important is notice that the divot is in front of the white line I have drawn here to represent where the ball was. That would be a fundamental of golf. I think one great drill that you can do that would improve your pitching is to have a board, or maybe just a head cover, and I place it maybe a couple of feet or a foot and a half behind your ball. What this does is a couple of things. First of all you are going to naturally lean a little forward trying to hit away from the board. It is also going to promote some wrist hinge in getting the clubhead to get up. And it also guarantees us that the club is going to land in front of the line, where your divot is going to bottom out after the ball.
So ball is in the middle, your weight is left, the shaft leans a little bit ahead. The backswing we are going to leave our weight a little bit on our left leg, get the club to hinge up, turn your belt buckle through and have a little resistance here. One thing you want to guard against here is having a long finish, trying to lift the ball up in the air. You do much better with having an abbreviated finish where you feel some resistance and some firmness in your arms and your wrist here. Hopefully these tips will help you with your pitching. Pitching is an area where you can really take some shots off your score if you just adhere to some of these basics.