Symptom: Your golf pitching technique is very poor, often traveling about half your intended distance. Your golf pitch shots from 80 yards and in are no good.
“How can I hit it close from 150 yards with a full swing but can’t hit a golf pitch shot from 40 yards?” you ask yourself while shaking your head in disbelief.
Description: Limit your backswing on golf pitch shots. This will force you to accelerate through impact to a high finish — higher than your backswing.
Why it works: To hit the golf pitch shot the proper distance with a limited backswing, you must accelerate through the golf ball.
By limiting your backswing, you will put lag into your downswing so you hit the ball before you hit the ground, and give you a high finish.
This visualization will prevent the “big backswing and decelerate” fault (remember, you don’t hit the ball on the backswing) that plagues so many golfers’ pitch shots.
Luke’s Impeccable Golf Pitching Technique
Let’s have Luke Donald demonstrate this for us. Luke is hitting this pitch shot about 40 yards in the air. Note that Donald’s backswing goes only until his left arm is parallel to the ground (0:17), but his finish is high (0:27), with his club pointing to the sky and his belt buckle facing the target. Let’s Look at Luke:
A Pitch Shot is Not a Humongous Chip Shot
As an added bonus, watch the gentleman in the background hitting a chip shot (not a pitch shot) to the same green (I can’t tell who it is). For this shorter shot (about ten yards in the air), he keeps his hands ahead of the ball through impact, which means he will not have a high finish.
So you see a demonstration of Luke Donald’s (longer) pitch shot and a (shorter) chip shot in the same video clip! What a bonus. Chip shot – hands stay ahead of the clubface. Pitch shot – club releases down the line.
More generally, accelerating (not decelerating) through the ball on every shot is one of the most fundamental requirements for playing good golf, and is the basis of the no backswing golf swing drill. A high finish is a good sign that you are indeed accelerating through the ball.
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