Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Short Game

Practice This Release Pattern For Pitching Consistency

By Lydia Ko Photos by Dom Furore
December 06, 2016

If you want to become better at pitching, my first piece of advice is to put your ball in lots of scenarios when you practice. Why hit 50 from the same spot when you get only one swing for each shot on the course?

Next, understand how your wedge is supposed to move through the grass. It’s supposed to glide, not dig. To get it to do that, feel like you’re letting the clubhead strike the ball a split second before the hands move over the top of its position (see photo below). That means keep your grip pressure light, and resist the urge to prevent the clubhead from releasing in fear of hitting it too far. Keep the club moving.

A great way to practice this action is to pitch with your right hand only. It’s hard to stop the momentum of the clubhead with only one hand. It will naturally glide along the turf and then extend just left of your target to complete the swing. Copy the feel of this release pattern when you play and your pitching will improve.

“Don’t be afraid to follow through on short shots.”


Don’t change the length of your swing to control distance. Just change grip length. For shorter shots, grip down.

Lydia Ko is No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.