July 23, 2008
Pitch swing teaches full-swing takeaway
On full shots, most amateurs take the club back too far inside and then swing down too steeply. But a good takeaway increases your chance of keeping the club on the correct plane and hitting solid shots.To get on the correct plane, note how you start your takeaway when you pitch the ball. If you focus on keeping the hands in and clubhead out, this will really help you do the same when it's time to make a full swing.The reason this is so important is that it sets up a backswing plane that is slightly more vertical than the downswing plane and, in turn, creates room for the proper downswing. Now you can hit the ball solidly.
Hinge it just like a pitch
Still trying to scoop the ball into the air? The left-arm-only drill will help break that habit. In fact, it's nearly impossible to hit a good pitch shot with your left arm unless you keep the wrist firm as you swing down and pivot your body toward the target. Take the club back so the shaft is parallel to the ground by hinging your left wrist. Now try to pop the ball into the air. If your wrist breaks down, you'll find it hard to do. You'll get your best results from maintaining the hinged position and pivoting your body toward the target.Here's another common problem for amateurs: They let the clubhead reach the ball before the left hand passes over the ball. Most tour pros do the opposite. In fact, the arm and shaft should be in line with each other even past impact. Just like with hinging a club, this sequencing is easy to practice on pitches and other greenside shots and then transfer to your full swing.