Posts Tagged ‘pitch shots’

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.

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.)

I Found The Secret to Hogan’s Golf Swing!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Okay, this does really happen to me every couple months.  That is that I find the secret to the golf swing.

You go to the golf course and return with this “amazing” feeling that you’ve finally mastered the game of golf, or at least just the golf swing in this case.

Let me tell you how it happend and the secret too.

I have been on a long-trail of hitting balls on the range and really not practicing my short game or putting.

Well, yesterday, I go to the range at Harding Park GC, and found that the range closes early on Mondays.  Of course, this was my first time going to the range after 6pm on a Monday.

So, I decided to practice my short game for 2 hours.  What happened after that was amazing.

For the first hour and a half or so, I was really struggling to hit these hard-pan lies.  After trying several things, I hit a goldmine, the secret to my golf swing.

You see, the secret is in the dirt just like Ben Hogan said.  Literally, I found it in the hardpan dirt, where it’s practically impossible to hit the shot good unless you strike the ball perfectly.

As such, I found the secret of the golf swing as the following:

Your full swing is an extended version of your short shots.  It’s never the other way around.

For example, you are hitting the 2-iron really well.  You miniturize that 2-iron swing on the short pitch shots.  It might work and it might not, simply because what’s working for the full swing isn’t guaranteed to work on the short shots.

However, if you are hitting your 30-yard pitch shots from a hardpan lie perfectly (as you do need to hit it perfectly on the ball in order to avoid chunking it or thinning it) and you extend that short swing into a 2-iron swing, you will find that 99% of the time, the swing works.

This is why tour pros practice their short game so much because the rhythm and the swing technique flows into other longer shots.

Now, that is how I found the secret, let me tell you the “technical” details of my findings:

You need to feel that on the downswing, you are rotating everything including your stomach, shoulders, arms, and hands to the left while your weight is centered over the left foot.  You also need to feel you are standing very tall.

Here’s the important part, you need to feel like your wrists are uncocking upwards toward the sky just after impact.

If you take a careful look at Hogan’s after-impact position, you will notice that his wrists are actually lifted toward the sky.  This really helps you to hit the ball perfectly while minimizing wrist action through impact.

Now how to achieve this feeling?

It’s pretty simple, try to imagine there’s a giant ball hanging from the sky sorta like the above picture.

Then, try to rotate your body to move that ball foward toward your target.  Also try to hit the big imaginary ball with your elbows, this will automatically uncock your wrists the correct way by letting your wrists lift upwards.

I tried this and boy, I am going to the PGA Tour Q-School next year baby! :)

Tiger at One Over at the U.S. Open and I found my Swing!

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Well, I spent 3 hours watching Tiger today on TV.  Although he doesn’t seem 100% yet due to his knee surgery, he did okay today by shooting 1-over.  Phil Mickelson shot an even par while playing with Tiger.

My Prediction This Week?

Tiger won’t win the U.S. Open because he just got back from his knee surgery.  Man, talk about getting back too soon I think…

Phil?  Nah, Phil’s not gonna win it either.

I think it’s either going to be someone who’s unknown or Stuart Appleby might win it at this point.

Oh yeah, btw, I found my swing today.  I am swinging like Tiger and Ben Hogan!

Today swing keys:

1. Really feel the triangle on the backswing.  Make sure to rotate in-plane.

2. On the downswing, really feel like the both left and right arm form a triangle and hit the ball with the same force, sorta like basketball 2-handed pass.  I did this and hit the ball like super straight and hit it a mile too.

3. Same thing with short pitch shots.  Really feel the plane, rotate, then just swing through with arms extended.

How to Hit the Dreaded 30 Yard Pitch Shot!

Friday, June 6th, 2008

The dreaded 30 yard pitch shot? Does this remind of you when you are on the course and you have an easy 30 yard shot from the fairway to the pin and you either “thin” it or “chunk” it?

Well, the 30 yard pitch shot is nothing more than a mini-version of your swing but there are some key points you might want to take in so you don’t thin it or chunk it.

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Today’s Swing Thoughts

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Well, today I hit the ball great again and here’s my swing thought for the day:

1. Watch your weight shift during your backswing.  Make sure it doesn’t transfer more than 75% to your right foot.  My fault has been that I’d transfer more than 75%, thus causing me to sway.

2. On the downswing and follow-through, make sure to keep your head down.  This caused to fix 90% of my problems simply by keeping my head down.

3. Rhythm,rhythm, and rhythm.  Without rhythm, you are not swinging the golf club.  You need rhythm for all kinds of shots including short pitch shots and putting.

Well, that was about it and I did hit lots of great short pitch shot from about 10-30 yards.

Here’s some key thoughts on hitting great 10-30 yard short pitch shots.

1. Rhythm – try to focus on your rhythm, this will automatically help you hit that pitch shot nice and crip while accelerating through the ball.

2. Soft hands – Keep your hands ultra-soft, like noodles hanging, and make sure to keep them soft during the whole pitch shot.  Let your hands be wristy, don’t be stiff.  Great soft pitch shot come from soft hands and wrist action.

3. Try to hit the pitch shot so you can hear the crisp sound of the ball wacking the middle of the clubface.

4. Setup to the ball square or slightly open.  A lot of players open the stance too much, that will only help you cut across the ball and not as much pure backspin, which is what you want.

5. A small pitch shot is basically a miniture version of your full swing.  Feel, feel, and practice.

You can also try opening up your clubface 30 degrees but with a square stance.  This will put a lot of spin on the ball and give you that “hop and drop” effect even on really short shots.

Advanced Golf: For even more “hop and drop” effect, you can even feel like “trapping” the ball with your upper body on the downswing.  Doing this makes the pitch shot go slightly lower yet spin like crazy if you catch it super clean.

Now, these are for pitch shots from 10 to 50 yards.  Those are the best shots to practice.

Find a quiet empty green with just 3 Titleist Pro-V golf balls and move around every 3 balls.  Don’t bang 100 balls from the same spot, that is the worst way to practice small pitch shots.

Make sure to pratice with the ball you play with.  3 balls is enough.

Swing Analysis of Sergio Garcia!

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Here’s a front-view of Sergio Garcia’s Swing in slow-motion:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

Sergio probably has one of the biggest “lags” out all the top players today.

Now, he probably comes as close to Ben Hogan’s “lag”.

Is lag a good thing?

Well, “lag”, I think is overrated. It’s the egg, not the chicken. In other words, you shouldn’t have to try to create “lag”. These players such as Sergio Garcia and Ben Hogan, didn’t try to do that.

They ended up doing that naturally while trying to hit the ball square in the middle of the clubface.

Even if you look at Tiger’s swing, he does have some lag, but too much “lag” can actually hinder your golf performance and you need fine hand control to be able to play consistently with “lag”.

“Lag”, however, is great for really squeezing every bit of your wrist power efficiency. Now, this is for the top golfers or scratch golfers. If you still can’t break par, you should really stick to simpler ideas.

Sergio Garcia Iron practice at the range:

Click Here to View in Full Screen Mode

What you need is really to practice lots and lots of short pitch shots as Sergio Garcia is doing here.  Most good pro tour players will actually hit over 75% of their practice shots for shots within 100 yards.

Why?

Well, this is the worst-kept secret on the Tour that no average Joe will ever listen to.  When you hit the smaller shots, you swing in tempo and in control.

Now, once you are swinging in good tempo and control, you can carry that to your longer clubs such as the driver.  (It’s never the other way around, even John Daly will tell you so…)

Don’t believe me?

Lol, well if you are ever in San Francisco, we can play for some money and I can show you how to take someone’s money.