December 14, 2008

Pitching Off Tight Fairway Lies

1. From firm ground, the tendency is to try to scoop the ball in the air, which usually leads to hitting it fat or thin. Solid contact comes from making a downward strike. For a standard pitch shot, play the ball midway between your heels and set more weight on your front foot. This promotes the steeper descent you need to hit the ball first.

__2.__The club should strike the ground immediately after the ball. Try this drill: Have a friend plant his or her heel just in front of where the ball would be. Set up to the shoe and swing, trying to wedge the clubface under the heel (see above). If you scoop, you'll swing up into the sole.

3. Control the pitching motion with the rotation of your upper body, not with your hands and arms. You want everything to turn back and through together, so your hips and shoulders face the target at the finish. This will help you maintain the loft on the clubface for a higher shot. Make sure the face points upward well after impact.

Sorenstam writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest Publications and runs the Annika Academy at Ginn Reunion Resort near Orlando.