🥇 Tips Drills and Instructions to improve your Golf Pitching with wedges

improve your golf pitching

Let’s learn some tips, drills and instructions to improve golf pitching with your wedges. Most golfers struggle with their golf pitching accuracy and technique from inside 100 yards, to get closer to the hole. If perfected, this skill gives us more chances of making birdies or pars. We will try to make your pitching simple and easy in this article. 

Summary to improve your golf pitching with wedges

  • Learn the repeatable swing technique
  • Set up stance – Feet closer and stand slightly open to the target.
  • Ball position – Ball to the center of the stance. Chest is over the top of the golf ball.
  • Arms and body connected together – Feel like our arm pits and arms are stuck into our body, as if we got something underneath your armpits.
  • Swing – Always stays center during the swing. Arms stay really connected to our body and not working independently. Arms are dictated by the body rotation.
  • Impact – Ball first and the floor after. Take very shallow divots.
  • Control the distance
  • Distance chart – Make a distance chart for each wedge. Use a clock face measurement.
  • Practice – Repeat the correct distances on every golf pitching shots and for every wedge. Use this chart on the golf course
  • Control the height
  • Flight choice –  Low, medium or high. Let the golf course forces you to choose one of 3 ball flights.
  • Medium flighted – Ball to be in the middle of our stance. Move the shaft slightly forward. Shallow divot.
  • High flighted – Ball position slightly forward of center. The shaft very level. Finish the arm high at the end. Shallow divot.
  • Low flighted – The ball more towards the right foot. The shaft forward. Finish with hands much lower. Divot will be deeper.

Table of contents

Learn the repeatable swing technique for golf pitching

We will discuss how we can make a technique that is everlasting, with every pitch that we play and every club that we decide to pitch with. This technique is going to help you strike the ball a lot cleaner. Swinging through the ball relatively shallow, to create accuracy and lots of spin. It’s more repetitive and easier to do. 

Make sure that we use our body a lot more, than just our arms. Many golfers just swing with their arms, leaving the body quite static at impact, resulting in flicking of the ball. This will add too much height and may lose distance. So, we have to move the body a lot more. As we move the body, with the arms attached to the body, we can create a clean connection with the ball.

The quality of the strike is very important. We will look into the principles of using your body, to pitch more perfectly. Therefore, eliminating exaggerated arm actions and bad strikes. We can use any clubs from 9 iron to lob wedge for pitching. It’s all about the technique, from 100 yards and in. It is about how we can limit the exaggerated arm activity and use the body rotation a lot more. We got to turn the body a lot more.

Set up stance for pitching

golf pitching stance

We have to setup in a way that would allow us to turn our body and the club. We have to stand slightly open to the target. We open the feet little and it gives the hips a head start. So, with a pre-set position, as you turn through the ball, the hips can start to turn as well.

Ball position for golf pitching

So, once you got your set up, with the alignment to the left, we would always place the ball to the center of the stance. Not too far right or left. If you put too far on our back foot, then we come in too steep. If we come in too steep, we end up leaning back and adding too much loft. So put the ball in the middle distance and alignment to the left. The chest is over the top of the golf ball. We are not standing excessively to the left, because we might get the leading edge going down and not able to hit the ball shallow enough.

Arms and body connected together for a golf pitch

We need to get a great connection. From this point we would grip normally. Feel like our arm pits and arms are stuck into our body, as if we got something underneath your armpits. You could also place a towel or a head cover under your armpits. Just take your armpits inwards. Now if we rotate our body, then our arms also rotate with it. It doesn’t give our arms any independence, which is great. So, we want a body rotation that is going to help deliver a shallow strike with the club.

So, stance slightly open, ball position center, chest over the top of the ball, and armpits into the body. Once your armpits are into the body, you need to turn back the club halfway and rotate the hips, keeping the arms connected to the body and finally turn through the other way. And all the time, your arms are really connected to your body. Turn your body back and turn the body through. So that we can always hit the ball shallow. We will never move to the right. As we take back the club, our body never moved over to the right foot, it always stays center.

Summary

Because of our pre-set setup, where our chest is over the top of the ball, we are hitting the ball first and the floor after. Thus taking a very shallow divot. Our arms stay really connected to our body. They are not working independently. They are dictated by the body rotation. The strike quality of such a shot is so much better. The divots we are taking are very light, as we are coming through very shallow. We are coming into the ball steep. We don’t have loads of lateral rotations. We are avoiding standing back and skulling or topping the ball. By using more of our body and less arms, the strike quality will be consistent.

How to control distance of your pitching golf shots

Let’s discuss distance control and how useful it is for excellent golf pitching accuracy. The distance control is much more important than the direction control of short shots. Many golfers don’t hit the ball that much laterally, to right or left. But shots too long or too short, is always a major problem for many. When pitching, most amateurs don’t to miss a target by more than 15 yards laterally. But they can easily miss by 15 yards, too short or too long. So, we wanted to come up with a way to accurately control the distance, with every wedge shot.

We can test this at the local driving range. Ideally when there is less wind, because we need to map out more accurate distances. We can also map out distances with the help of a launch monitor. Launch monitors are easy to log and are incredibly accurate.

Prepare a distance chart for pitching

golf pitching distance chart

We got to figure out what we want to measure. So, the first thing we should do is to make a distance chart for each wedge. Use a chart that has the list of the wedges that we use. It could be pitching, gap, sand and lob wedge. Across the top of the chart, you will see the term “full”, it means full swing. You need to measure how far your full swing goes for each wedge.

We need to vary our swing lengths to measure the different distance ratios. Here we use a clock face measurement. For example, we can make our swing length to 11 o’clock. As the position of our left arm reaches 11 o’clock, we start our downswing. Now we can note that carry distance down in our chart. Fill it in for all the wedges in your bag. The main swing lengths in a “clock face” are:

  • 11-to-1 o’clock
  • 10-to-2 o’clock
  • 9-to-3 o’clock
  • 8-to-4 o’clock
golf pitching clock swings

Let’s go through this process, step by step. Or first clock number is 11-to-1 o’clock. You could use the gap wedge, to swing from 11-to-1 o’clock. We would do this test, with any wedge in your bag. As we swing, we turn our body backwards, and feel the position of our left arm (lead arm), back to 11 o’clock position. However far you go on one side you must match it on the other side. Hence the 11 to 1 swing. In our downswing and follow through, stop the swing, when your right arm reaches 1 o clock. Remember, it’s the left arm in the backswing and the right arm in the downswing finish.

After you finish hitting, measure the carry distance in yards. Let’s say you hit 90 yards. Note the 90 yards for your gap wedge, for a swing length 11 to 1. You can also hit ten shots and make an average of those. This will eliminate any mishits, that gone too short or too long. And write it in the distance chart. Complete the distance chart for all the wedges. Pitching wedge to lob wedge. Once done, we can use this chart on the golf course and apply it for any pitching shots.

Practice makes perfect pitching!

You should be able to repeat the correct distances on every golf pitching shots and for every wedge. It is simple method but require some practice drills. But once you have perfected it, you can transfer this chart to the real golf course. Let’s imagine you have a 90-yard shot. First check your distance chart. You may find out that a gap wedge goes 90 yards, with a 11 to 1 swing! It’s very simple. After a while, you may start to memorize the yardages and the clubs without the help of the paper chart. Your distance control with each wedge is very important to shoot low scores on the course.

How to control the height of your pitching golf shots?

golf pitching height control

Let’s check how to control the height of your pitching shots. Imagine we are in the middle of the fairway and have an excellent opportunity to make a birdie or par. We know the yardage to the hole, but we have to decide on the height of the shot. Let’s say that the we have 100 yards to a hole. Then what ball flight should we aim for? Low – middle- or high ball flight? The simple answer is, let the golf course forces you to choose one of those ball flights. Don’t just pick one randomly. We are going to show you how to fight the ball high, medium and low.

Medium flighted golf pitching shots

Let’s look at the medium flighted golf pitching shot lesson. We attempt a medium flighted 100 yards shot, to a pin at the center of the green. Here we don’t want to manipulate the loft of the golf club too much. We do not want to take too much loft off or add any loft. Neither do we want the ball to be too far back nor too far forward. We want the ball to be in the middle of our stance. The other factor we would consider is, the position of the shaft. We are just going to move the shaft slightly forward. The speed and the length of the swing is going to depend on the target distance. In our case its 100 yards. We use our distance chart from the previous section and figured out that’s it’s a 11-to-1 o’clock swing with our gap wedge. Now let’s go ahead and make a smooth swing. If we make good contact, the ball should fly at a medium height and should stop relatively quick.

High flighted golf pitching shots

Let’s look at the high flighted pitching shot instruction. The pin is placed in the center of the green, with a bunker at the front. The pin is in the middle, but the bunker to the front is a problem. So, we have got to hit a high shot because we want the ball to hit the ground and stop quickly. For a high flighted golf shot, we will have the ball position slightly forward of center. And we are then going to get the shaft very level. This is pre-setting the shaft level. 

Use our clock face distance chart, to figure out the distance and the club. And swing smoothly and make a clean strike. One swing difference here is, to finish the arm high at the end, so that the ball gets the height.

Low flighted golf pitching shots

Now we are going to dig into the low flighted pitching instruction.  If you ever think about low height flighted shot, it is typically when we hit against the wind. You try to lower the ball flight to counter the wind or when the pin is at the back of the green. If the pin is right at the back, the ball here flies three quarters of the way forward and skips forward rest of the way. The low flighted shot is the riskiest option out of the 3 ball flights.

For this shot, we are going to de-loft the club. We don’t want any loft. We are going to take loft off by pressing the shaft forward. We are placing the ball more towards the right foot, back in your stance. And this time after the downswing, we want to finish with hands much lower. This will create a completely different ball flight. The low ball could be half as high as the high one. Divot will be way deeper because we are coming in lot steeper than the other shots.

So, we have 3 very different shots, even though we are going for the same green. As we said before, the golf course forces you to hit certain shots. So, it’s important to have pitching skills, that is demanded of a particular situation.

2 Drills to improve golf pitching

We will provide you some tips and drill on pitching. We want the club head to brush the surface, not dig the surface by using the trail edge more efficiently as we pitch. The benefits of this drills are, it will allow us to hit shots correct. Hit slightly heavy and still get away with it. It’s also going to allow you to expose the bottom 2 grooves better, so you get more spin on the ball. So, striking the ball well creates more friction, which creates more spin. Hitting lower in the face, helps you to get the ball launching lower and grabbing more of the face.

Now there are other things you need. Conditions, greens and so on. If the greens are wet, then we won’t get as much spin as in dryer conditions. We’re going to talk about our 2 favourite drills to make your golf pitch better. They both can help to expose the bounce of the club better. It helps us to use your body more efficiently and correctly in the pitching action.

Right hand only drill for pitching

The first is the right hand only drill. We can put our left hand on your belly. We feel that we pull our body through, so you keep the legs very quiet. We are trying to get our upper body rotating. So, we are using it to increase the dynamic loft. Basically, expose that bounce and get that trail edge hitting the ground more and bruise that turf. So, we won’t take no divot, whatsoever. The right arm is definitely the more active arm, when it comes to the golf pitching accuracy. No need to hit too heavy. The common faults we see is the leading edge get stuck and dig down in the ground.

Upper body drill for pitching

The second pitching drill is much easier than the first one. This is all about getting the body, more isolated. Isolating the lower body by turning the upper body back through the ball. So, we will take a split stance, right foot back roughly level to our left foot angle. Two hands on the club. We do want little hips moment, but we don’t want our knees or feet moving too much. This is all about getting the chest and the rib cage working better. 

So those would be our two favourite drills to help improve our pitching. These two drills help to expose that bounce better in pitching action and produce more consistent strikes.

5 common mistakes when pitching in golf

The following are the most common mistakes when pitching:

  1. Hitting too much down on the ball: You should try to use the bounce of the wedge more to brush the ball off the grass. Don’t try to take huge divots.
  2. Hanging back at the finish: At the finish of the swing, 70 percent of the body weight should be on front foot. Otherwise you will end up topping the ball.
  3. No proper follow through: Using the clock system mention above, you should have equal back swing and downswing/finish length. If you don’t, the ball tend to go lot lower.
  4. Using too much arms and too little body: Using too much arms in pitching will result in inconsistent strikes, especially for longer shots. For shorter pitches use more upper body.
  5. Using same trajectory/height for all pitching shots, irrespective of pin placements: Let the course dictate to you at which height you should approach the greens. Higher shots to stop the ball quickly and lower shots for extra roll, depending on the pin placement.

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