Today, I was practicing this pop and run pitch shot where your pitch shot flies about 15-20 yards then rolls the rest of the way about additional 5-10 yards. (It’s also called hit-and-run but I like the term “pop and run” since it feels more like I “pop” the ball” rather than “hitting” it)
This shot can be very useful in situations where you have a lot of green to work with yet you still need to fly the ball about 15-20 yards onto the green.
Also, this shot can be useful for uphill lies/greens where the ball tends to die after landing on the green.
Okay, one more thing, this shot can be useful in situations where the green lies left to right, meaning you need to aim left of your pin and also put some nice “hook” spin to the ball. (so it will counter the left-to-right slope on the green)
Anyways, to hit this pop and run pitch shot, it’s not terribly hard nor different from your regular pitch shot.
First, setup to the ball square to your target with the ball about the center of your stance.
Second, let your hands be very “light” like spaghetti as with all short game shots.
Third, take your backswing aggressively inside, you should feel that your wrists are forced to hinge quicker because you take it back on a such flat plane. Yes, it’s okay to be wristy on this shot, just make sure you hands stay super light throughout the shot.
Fourth, follow through inside-out without breaking your wrists.
When you hit hit shot right, you can literally take a really clean hit of the ball and very little turf. It should feel very solid and with lots of overspin. The golf ball should feel like “butter” at impact.
The beauty of this shot can be seen in windy against-the-wind situations where you need to keep the ball strong and also rolling once it hits the green.
I know personally that Tiger (although his MIA right now, perhaps I will have a post on that soon) practices/uses this shot a lot.
It’s hard for you to catch pros hit this shot because the pitch shot is such a small action, subtle changes in the pitch shot can be hard to see with the naked eye.
When hit right with enough force, this shot can also “skip and drop” when hit under dry, normal conditions or against the wind.
Of course, this shot isn’t for the hacker, perhaps for those of you who are already accomplish short game players.
Putting “hook” spin on the ball with small chip/pitch shots can save you a great deal of headache on very fast, sloping greens where just playing along might not be enough. Instead, you might have to “counter” spin the ball to get your ball stopping next to the pin.
On the opposite side, there’s the slice spin chip shot but I am not going to tell you how to do that because most of you already know how to do that. Most pitch shots can have slice spin as soon as you open the clubface.
Of course, you might think you can add “hook” spin simply by closing the clubface but I find that is a lot harder to control than using the inside-out swing method. Anyways, that is why I am telling you how to hit this shot.
I usually use my 60 degree lob wedge to hit this shot but you can use longer club (even a 7-iron) for longer pitch shots such as 50 yards or more.
As always, my tips are meant to help you to experiment with you own short game and develop your own “feel” and shots. In short game, there’s no single right way to hit the same shot. Likewise, I would like you to experiment and see if you can find my method or any other variations thereof helpful for your golf game.
Practice your short game at least 30% of your practice time as having a great short game can help you score under par even if you hit your drives/irons all over the place.