Hitting high-lofted, high-spinning pitch shots not only makes scoring easy, it’s tons of fun (and you look like a pro while you’re doing it). The loft part is easy—your wedge has gaggles of it. What takes some effort is producing the kind of shot-stopping spin that can occasionally make the ball back up on the green once it hits. You need a combination of pure contact, swing speed and a unique left-arm move—one that mimics how you position your left hand to receive a high five— to pull it all together. Here’s how to do it and stop critical pitch shots in tap-in range.
1. MAKE A THUMP
Before hitting the shot, make several practice swings. Focus on your knees—raise or lower them as you swing through impact until you hear the bottom of the clubhead “thump” the ground. That’s the sweet sound of pure contact.
2. LET THE CLUBHEAD “CHASE”
As you work on your knee action, try to also get a sense of what the clubhead is doing. It should feel as though it’s “chasing” the grip as you approach impact, then passing it just after the strike. I liken the move to the one you’d use to toss a ball underhand with your right arm to a person on your left (in other words, down the target line). This grip-first-clubhead-second sequence ramps up speed and ensures that you max out loft.
3. WORK AROUND YOUR BODY
As you swing though impact into an abbreviated finish (a must for spin), work your left elbow around the left side of your torso. This easy move provides the room that your right arm and hand need to speed through impact unimpeded (a must for speed), and it allows you to release your hands so that the clubhead can correctly pass the grip after the strike (a must for loft). Check if you did it right by opening your left palm as you hold your finish. If your palm faces the target in a high-five position, you nailed it. Keep it there: That hand will receive plenty of congratulatory slaps as your pitch comes to a screeching halt next to the pin.
Written by Dom DiJulia, DiJulia Golf, Jericho National G.C., New Hope, Pa.(@DiJuliaGolf)