No Flubs, Less Scolds, More Tight

Problems with pitch shots? Usually those who struggle on 5-20 yard pitch shots struggle because of lack of practice, but for those who practice but still struggle, it is likely because your impact and path is too steep and outside in.

The pitch shot is a little confusing because it is not a chip shot (like a putt, straight back and through), nor is it a full shot which allows enough depth (the hands moving back to the left shoulder at the top) to allow an inside out swing. It is also deceptive – seemingly a short straight back and through shot that will go straight down the intended line and nestle close to the pin. The pitch is not as it seems.

Typical Miscues:

1. Straight back and thru – brings the club straight up, even as the shoulders are turning. This causes the club to get steep, over the plane, and as the shoulders turn back to impact, it throws the club outside the ball and comes "outside in" through impact. It also nose dives into the ball, making a perfect "bottom of the swing" required, otherwise it will be a fat shot or thin shot. In fact, it is less than 50% chance of a perfect crisp shot. It also causes shanks.
2. No wrist action – using no wrist is fine on chips and low running shots with plenty of green to work with. However, to "pop" the ball up and out of the taller grass, and to impart spin, you need to cock the wrist some.

Notice the image below. As the club comes back it will be relatively straight (because the shoulders started out square at address), but when it comes down you will need to feel like you swing to right field (because the shoulders are now turned and the initial down swing would need to run inside out parallel to them) to keep the club on plane, shallow out the angle of attack, and to brush the ground lighter.  This will help with crisper shots, as you likely intended it to be in the first place.  This helps give some forgiveness too; as you swing inside out you can be a little fat and a little thin with the ball, and still be okay.

Imagine swinging to right field on pitch shots, and your short game should improve.