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Tiger Woods: Pitch With Your Body

For consistency, put your big muscles in control

Tiger Woods

Precision Pitching: I focus on turning my body through, never on hitting with my hands.

January 2011

Golf's best short-game players possess great instincts, soft hands and an understanding that short shots are simply miniature full swings. Most of the same fundamentals apply, including keeping your body turning toward the target through impact. You need to stay connected -- upper body and lower body turning in sync -- especially when pitching.

Most poor pitchers are totally out of sync during the downswing. They freeze the upper body and overuse the lower body, or they get handsy in their delivery of the club to the ball. Both moves make consistently solid contact a problem.

I like to feel fluid and unhurried on my pitch shots, my tempo as smooth as Freddie Couples' full swing. That helps me synchronize my upper body with my lower body. I want to feel as if I'm pitching the ball with my big muscles -- shoulders, chest, hips and thighs.

I regulate distance with the length of my backswing and trajectory through club selection and ball position. I don't think of swinging my hands and arms slower or faster. And, above all, I try to keep my torso turning through the shot.

TIGER WOODS writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest.

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