January 7, 2009

Hit the gas to improve pitching accuracy

Think miles per hour from inside 100 yards

Need for speed: Swing speed -- not swing length -- is the best way to control pitching distance.

Need for speed: Swing speed -- not swing length -- is the best way to control pitching distance.

The most common way golfers are told to regulate distance on pitch shots is to vary the length of the backswing. But I've always found it extremely difficult to get players to know exactly how far back they take the club. How would they know? It's not like a bell goes off when they get to the correct spot.

Instead of worrying about varying backswing lengths, focus on one length -- halfway back, with the left arm parallel with the ground. From there, key on the acceleration factor through impact. For example, if you want to hit a 90-yard shot, think about making a 90-mph swing. If you want to hit it 70 yards, make it 70 mph and so on. Obviously, these speeds are not accurate, but it's a great mental concept for improving distance control on your pitch shots.

Based at ChampionsGate near Orlando, Leadbetter runs 27 academies worldwide. Click here for more tips from Leadbetter.