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:
- 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.
- Set up with most of your weight on the left side of your body and keep it there during the whole pitch shot.
- 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.
- Make sure to keep your pitch swing nice and smooth, free flowing while keeping your hands super light.
- 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.)