Archive for the ‘Pitch Shot’ Category

Are you Chunking Pitch/Chip Shots?

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

When I play with my hacker golfer friends (who shoot beyond 100 on average), one of the things that I do them over and over again during the course of round is “chunking” their pitch shots/chip shots.

So, how do you “not” chunk pitch/chip shots?

It’s pretty simple, most of my hacker friend who are chunking are trying the help the golf ball instead of hitting down on it.

If you have this trouble many times on the golf course, here’s some simple tips that can help you hit them good everytime:

1. When you setup to the golf ball, make sure your weight is a bit on the left (perhaps 60% on the left and 40% on the right will do for right-handed golfers). This will eliminate any chances of you thinning or chunking.

2. Also when you are setting up to the golf ball, make sure your hands are slightly ahead of the ball. If not, you are setup for chunking.

3. When you hit the pitch/chip shot, hit “down” on the golf ball and “through” until you have finished the shot. A lot of golfers “decelerate” on their downswing and this will cause chunking.

These three tips should help you stop chunking those pitch/chip shots and helping you save more strokes.

Even if you are not chunking, perhaps you can help out your friend who chunks. :)

Of course, there are advanced methods to pitching/chipping to but these tips are for those of you who have a chronic “chunking” problem.

Short Game Tip – Getting More Feel Before Hitting That Chip Shot!

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

If you watch pro golfers on TV carefully, you will notice that sometimes (during the heat of a match/championship), the pro golfer will walk the greens.

This is because he/she is trying to get a “feel” for the greens before hitting their chip shot.  Sometimes pros do this for even longer pitch shots such as 90 yards in.

The nature of the game forces the greens to get harder as the day goes by and usually when you see the leaders finish on the last couple holes, that’s usually when the greens are hardest and fastest, especially on windy days.

These little, minute effect of nature can have a great impact on how your ball behaves when you are chipping or pitching to the green.

To get a good feel for the greens, simply walk the green where you will be landing the ball and rolling it to the hole.  Then try to get a good “feel” for the greens by feeling the green with your feet.

After getting a good feel for the green, visualize your chip/pitch shot and then hit the darn thing.

You should start doing this more often (although you don’t have to do it everytime) as it will help you predict and hit better short shots around the green.

Also, by walking around the green before you hit the chip shot, you will subconsciously relax yourself and also help your mind get a better “feel” for the shot.

Short game requires more “feel” then anything and your feet need to feel the greens when under the gun.  Whether you are hitting that chip shot close to win a nassau bet or the U.S. Open, this little tip will help you win more often than not.

If you don’t believe me just watch the pros walk around the greens before they hit their chip shot and also watch exactly where they are walking.

How to Hit the Pop and Run Pitch Shot! [Short Game]

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

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.

How to Hit the Soft Floating Chip/Pitch Shot from the Rough!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

In this blog post, I will show you how to hit that soft, floating chip/pitch shot from the light/medium rough.  This is a shot I practice and use constantly and can be a great par saver.

This method might differ from anything else you have learned in the past but trust me, this is a fail-proof method of hitting a great soft, floating chip/pitch shot from the rough.

Also, you might be interested to learn that I have devised my own method by applying a lot of stuff here and there I’ve learned from other pros.

Short game can be limitless in the number of ways you can hit different shots and this one is specifically geared towards “simpleness” and easy enough for any weekend golfer to repeat it with little practice.

Basically, this is a short game shot that’s really a chip shot and a pitch shot since you will hit the ball soft and higher than normal, but still need to get some roll after the ball hits the ground.

The basic method of hitting this soft, floating chip/pitch shot is to open your clubface (this would depend on how high you want to hit it) and simply using a “mini version” of your full swing.

There’s couple of things you need to do and that is to take a square stance, just like a full shot, you DON”T NEED TO OPEN YOUR STANCE AT ALL.

I find that you can actually hit these little pitch shots more consistently if you setup square to the ball.  Also, make sure to hit DOWN on the ball and THROUGH the ball.  Don’t be afraid to hit this shot, you need to be confident.

One more thing, you want to try to hit about 1/4 inch behind the ball and let the clubface “bounce” off the grass.

For the shot, I recommend either a lob wedge or sand wedge.  (Btw, I used a 60 degree lob wedge in the video.)

Before you hit the shot, make sure to “visualize” exactly how the ball will fly (its trajectory) and where it will land on the green.  (read the green too so you know how the ball will roll after landing)

The greatest part about this shot is that you don’t have to change your swing at all or learn a new pitching technique.

Make sure to keep your hands super “light”, barely on the grip and let your arms feel like “spaghetti”.

Light hands are essential to every shot in the short game.  Ask any pro in the world and they will tell you light hands equal great feel.

Remember, short game is about creativity and imagination, don’t be afraid to experiment and make your own chip/pitch shots.

I assure you, if you get good at this shot, you will be making a lot more pars on the course.  I find this shot more useful than hit and run chip shots.  (which are useful too but not as used often in my experience and much easier)

How to Hit Those Short Chip/Pitch Shots out of Medium/Tough Rough!

Monday, August 31st, 2009

rough

(Image Credit)

Today I practiced 20-50 yard pitch shots at my favorite public course Harding Park with my 60 degree wedge.  Since Harding Park will be hosting the 2009 President’s Cup this year in October, the greenskeeper was growing the grass like mad.

Anyways, those long rough conditions allowed me to practice those tough shots and here’s simple tips next time you see some of those medium to high length rough:

  1. Set up to the ball with your clubface open, anywhere from 5 to 45 degrees depending on how high you want to hit your pitch shot.
  2. Set up with most of your weight on the left side of your body and keep it there during the whole pitch shot.
  3. Try to hit slightly behind the ball.  The long rough will actually act as cushion and add a little “bounce” to your shot, meaning you actually want to hit a little behind it to hit the ball consistently.   You want to hit about 1/4 to 1/8 inch behind the ball but no more than 1/4 inch, otherwise you will end up flopping the pitch shot.  Just make sure to keep your eyes 1/4 inch behind the ball and try to hit that spot, not the ball.  This will ensure you don’t “skull” the ball while you will get a consistent results out of any medium to long-sized rough.
  4. Make sure to keep your pitch swing nice and smooth, free flowing while keeping your hands super light.
  5. Make sure your follow-through is much longer than your backswing to ensure acceleration through the pitch shot.

Now, apply these tips next time you go out to the practice green.  I tend to like to spend a lot of time around the greens, not much of a ball-banger anymore (I used to be).  But I can assure you that when you can hit well and consistently close to the hole out of these medium to long-sized grass, you will definitely play better next time you play a good course like Harding Park.

Of course, hitting behind the ball only applies to 1 inches of grass(rough) or longer.  Anything shorter, you can keep your weight evenly distributed and focus on the front of the ball itself. (otherwise you will flub it for sure)

These shots are not easy but they are really fun if you master them and you will have a great advantage over your playing partners, especially if they are not accustomed to hitting those pitch shots within 3 feet circle like you do.

Have fun practicing and I should have some more tips on various different pitch shots.  (And yes, practicing with 1-ball can help greatly to these shots as you will learn to manipulate your 60 degree wedges better.)

Swing Tips – Takeaway and Just after Impact

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Swing Tips - Takeaway and Just after Impact

One of the most important part of the golf swing is your takeaway and how you come into the ball through impact.

Unless you have a super-strong or super-weak grip, you will want to rotate your arms, hands, and the clubface so that the clubface points away from your body and shown here. (The blade of your clubface should be pointing straight up at the sky)

Why is this so important?

The correct takeaway allows the golfer to come into the ball without manipulating the hands. It also lets the golfer to unleash the rotated power.

Think of it this way.

Golf is not a game of vertical or horizontal, it’s a game of rotating naturally around your body.

In order for you to swing the club, you must turn your body sorta like you are shaking hands with the person on the right. Now, you wouldn’t shake hands with the back of your hand facing up or down, would ya?

The second most important position in golf is probably right after impact. You want to feel as though the triangle formed by your shoulders, arms, hands and the club are one, pounding into the center of the golf ball.

Here, I am only hitting a 30 yard pitch shot. Still, you can see that I’ve extended my whole upper body.

This impact position will only be possible to achieve if you have a correct takeaway.

It’s feels almost like a 2-handed basketball pass. But when you do it right, you will feel that both of your arms and hands are hitting the ball with “equal” force.

Try the takeaway and the impact position the next time you are on the range, you will hit the ball more consistently.