PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

Approach Shots

Here's The Pitch...

November 07, 2012

The 20- to 30-yard pitch shot should be easy, even if there's a hazard guarding the pin. But it's not. Because -- admit it -- you've got a lot of bad memories of screwing up these delicate shots.

What I see golfers doing is overusing the lower body as a way of trying to help the ball into the air. It's like the flip with the hands, but even harder to get away with. When your legs get too active, you don't stay centered over the ball, and contact suffers. You also lose the natural sequence of the swing, because the lower body tends to race ahead of the arms on the way down. Matching them up requires last-second adjustments, which makes this simple motion way too complicated.

Try instead to monitor your lower-body action. You want the freedom to use your legs -- just don't overuse them. Grab a short iron with your right hand and position the shaft on your right knee and behind your left (above, inset). Your legs aren't locked in place, but they can't move too much. Now with your left hand, grip a wedge and hit some one-handed pitches. You'll feel a more stable lower body, plus: (1) You'll have a much better sense for the weight of the clubhead, so your swing will be more fluid; (2) Without the influence of your right hand, you'll make the desired downward strike.

Alternate using this drill and your regular technique. In no time, you'll be pitching it closer and saving more pars.