We have all read that the short game is the most important area for improving your scores. Well... I can confirm that this is the case. Club golfers will hit a high majority of their shots from within 100 yards and so if you can become more accurate from these distances your scores will improve.
The Path to improvement
The reason why your pitching hasn't improved significantly already is because you haven't approached it in the correct way. Having a lesson, or watching a YouTube clip, to find that magical technical tip will not improve your pitching over a long period of time.
Instead you should follow the path to improvement as outlined in this blog which has been developed by myself via discussions with top European Tour golfers and coaches plus many hours of research into the correct way to learn and retain a new skill.
Phase 1 - Develop the correct pitching technique
The pitching technique is slightly different to the full swing technique for good reason, this short clip explains what to look for and how to practice it.
You should now practice the techniques mentioned in this video and only progress to the next phase when you are able to successfully hit 7/10 pitch shots with all of your wedges. A successful pitch would be where your shots land with a reasonably consistent distance because you strike them consistently.
A great gauge to whether you are striking these shots properly is to set-up a little practice station. Put a towel, one clubhead's width, behind the ball and place a tee on the ground a couple of inches in-front. Then spray your clubface with foot spray. If you can miss the towel, clip the ball away nicely whilst also getting the tee airborne you know your angle of attack is correct. The foot spray will give you feedback on the centeredness of strike.
If you are having problems with any of the above strike tests please skip to the bottom of this blog and start the bonus section.
Phase 2 - Add some variety and gauge your pitching distances
Now that you can strike the ball consistently you need to develop a variety of distances within your pitching technique. It's not good enough to just know how far your full shots go. Having three different swings, and distances, with each wedge will give plenty of options from within 100 yards.
Watch the clip below to develop your distances. I understand you will probably not have a Flightscope system, as I use in the clip, but there are some great alternatives of which I highly recommend if you are to develop your pitching to your highest potential:
Garmin Approach G80
Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this product which I can supply for £375
Please contact me on email@example.com if you are interested in this product which I can supply at a discounted price.
Only move to the next phase once you have developed a "wedge distance card" as mentioned in the clip.
If you are finding that your different length swings are sending the ball the same distance it could be that you are miss-hitting the shots. You should move back to phase 1 to ensure your set-up and technique are correct. Once you have developed your different distances you are ready for phase 3.
Phase 3 - Get ready for the course
The first two phases of this path to improvement are what most golfers already do. But this phase is where we start to see some differences.
I want you to play a skills game using your new found technique and distances. The game is called "£100".
To play the game you need to set up at least six of your pitching distances, on a range using cones (or you could use one of the gadgets mentioned above), and you are going to hit one shot at a time to each distance. Starting at the shortest distance. If your first distance is 25 yards and your shot lands at 30 yards your take £5 off of your £100 starting total, leaving you with £95. If your next target is 40 yards and your shot lands at 32 yards, you take a further £8 off of your total, leaving you with £87. See if you can hit 10 random shots and still have money left. Tour players perform this game and start from £25 and still manage to hit 10 shots!
When playing the above game you will find that your performance improves if you can reduce the amount of technical thoughts running through your mind. Try having one technical thought plus trying to imagine the trajectory of your shot. If your performance dips go back to phase 1 to check your technique and set-up.
If you are finding the above game easy (or you are a more advanced player) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a slightly different version that will test you further.
Phase 4 - Out on the course. Strategic thinking.
You now have a solid technique and can hit a variety of distances. It's time to take this to the course. But, you need to think strategically. Trying to attack every flag is not a good idea. Brooks Koepka averages 22ft from the hole when hitting shots from 50-75yards, which I'm sure will surprise most people. If one of the worlds best player averages 22ft, the average club player will be 40ft at least and so a good strategy for the club golfer is different to the worlds best.
You will notice in this clip that I use a Skycaddie GPS system to judge distances. I cannot recommend this unit enough for improving your wedge distances. It's not good enough to guess your distances. This guesswork creates doubt and doubt results in poor shots.
Please email me at email@example.com if you would like a deal on a GPS or laser measuring device.
Bonus - Lets personalise this plan!
As a thank you for reading this blog, and as a way of me encouraging you to get into the correct habits regarding your own pitching development, I would like to offer you a discounted price for me to review your pitching technique via an online lesson. Plus I will call you for a two month follow-up to see how things are going and decide if we need to make any adjustments to your plan.
For just £9.99 I will review your technique and arrange a follow-up phone call.
Just email me two videos of your pitching technique, one from down-the-line and one from face-on. I will send you a video review of your technique plus a practice game to help improve any technical flaws you may have. We will also arrange a time that's best for you to make the follow-up call.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and I hope it improves your pitching this season. If you would like more help with your pitching, in-person, please view my lesson packages and come to visit me at Hillsborough Golf Club