How to Handle Small Pitches
Change your setup to soften up your everyday pitch swing
By Kellie Stenzel
Top 100 Teacher
This story is for you if...
1. You'd rather putt from off the green than hit a small pitch because you always catch these shots thin.
2. You think short shots require a slow swing.
You missed on your approach and are sitting a few yards off the green with the pin cut close. You're thinking putter, but the grass is too long to roll the ball safely onto the putting surface.
There's only one: an extra-small pitch. Successfully hitting this shot isn't a matter of force like most golfers believe, but rather a matter of swing length. Make the following setup changes to limit how far you take the club back so you can hit the ball just hard enough to land it on the green using your everyday pitching motion.
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NARROW YOUR STANCE
Set up with the ball in the middle of your stance and your feet almost touching. This ultra-narrow address limits the flexibility of your hips, so you turn less and cut your backswing short without having to think about it.
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Set your hands near the bottom of the grip so that your right thumb is nearly touching the shaft. This makes your sand wedge or lob wedge much shorter and automatically reduces the amount of power you can deliver to the ball.
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MAKE A THUMP
Your choke grip and narrow stance make it easy to limit your backswing using your normal tempo. Now, swing forward with smooth acceleration and try to "thump" the ground under the ball with the sole of your wedge. The ball will come off the face softly and fly the short distance you need.
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