A common question among golfers looking to improve is “how should I practice”. It’s a great question that most players get wrong. The typical golfer goes to the range and hits shot after shot without great results. It’s not very efficient or effective. We all know that spending more time on the short game is a great way to take strokes off. But what if you could improve your full golf swing while practicing your short game. There is a way! Working on and improving your pitch shots (40-60 yard pitch shots) will make you a better ball striker. Here’s how and why it works:
The Pitch Shot is a Smaller Version of Your Full Swing
When you think about the swing for a pitch shot it’s not that much different than your full swing. The swing starts at the setup, the clubhead moves up and in, the clubhead travels down and strikes the ball, and then the clubhead then finishes up and in again. The only difference is that the swing is smaller. Being that it’s the same motion, improving the pitch swing will lead to an improved full swing. It’s also effective because the pitch shot swing encompasses the important areas of the golf swing; hip height on the backswing to hip height on the follow through.
It’s Easier to Make Changes with Smaller Swings
If you have ever tried implementing a swing change you know how difficult it can be get the proper feeling. Whether you’re working on less wrist hinge in the backswing, leading more with the hands at impact, or finishing more left in the follow through it’s not easy to grab a 5 iron and just start hitting. This is where the pitch shot makes it easier. Let’s say you want to lead more with the hands at impact. Start with a short pitch shot and get the feel. After several shots you’ll have a better idea of where you should be. Next move up to a bigger (50 yard) pitch and try to maintain the feeling. Then move up to an even bigger (70-80 yard) pitch shot and continue developing the feel. Finally you’ll get to the full swing and it will be easier to maintain because you started small and worked your way up. It’s a more efficient way to introduce swing changes.
Pitching Teaches You to Control the Motion of Your Hands
The way your hands work in the golf swing and the way your hands work in relation to your body play a big role in your ball striking success. If your hands are scoopy or flippy through impact it’s going to be difficult to consistently hit good shots. The same is true if you have a lot of wrist and hand action on the backswing. Hitting good pitch shots requires your hands to lead the clubhead through impact and for your hands and body to move together. If your hands move faster than the body you’ll see flippy and mishit shots. If your body moves too fast your hands will get left behind. As stated earlier it is much easier to get a feel with shorter swings. Practice your pitch shots and feel the hands and body moving at the same speed. Once you get this down it will be easier to translate to your full swing. You will also start to feel your hands leading the clubhead through impact which will result in more consistent shots. So the next time you go to the range skip the full swings and grab a wedge. Hit 50-60 yards pitch shots and start getting a better feel for your golf swing. Better results on the course are just around the corner.