Learn How to “Use the Bounce” When Pitching
By: Mike Paukovits
The chip shot and the pitch shot are two different kinds of shots. In the chip the clubface is de-lofted, and the ball is back in the stance with the shaft leaning forward. This shot has more ground time and less time spent in the air, you hit the ball and then the turf with the leading edge. When hitting a pitch shot off of a tight fairway lie, the last thing we want to have happen is to expose that sharp leading edge. In the pitch shot, the shaft is in a more neutral/vertical orientation at impact with the face slightly open, which exposes the bounce. The goal when pitching is more air time and less roll time. In this technique you can get away with hitting it a little “fat” or behind the ball and the bounce allows the club to slide along the grass and under the ball in a forgiving way without digging. Chip using the leading edge, pitch using the bounce.
Notice in the above pitching sequence: Tiger hinges the club during the backswing, hands leading slightly at impact, and aggressive shoulder turn through…not much of a divot just a clean brush of the turf using the bounce of his wedge.
Pitching technique points to remember:
- Weight left (60%); narrow stance
- Hands high, standing fairly close to the ball
- Clubface slightly open (varies for special situations and lies)
- Ball position in the center
- Early wrist cock on backswing; no weight transfer
- Flat left wrist at impact
- Turn through to the finish with belt buckle and chest facing target
– Less active lower body during backswing to more active during follow through
– Hands high to prevent the heel from grabbing and clubface slightly open to prevent the leading edge from digging
It is very important to make sure that your wedges have enough bounce and that your loft and lie angles are correct. Contact Mike for a wedge fitting and more pitching instruction.