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Ballantrae at Birmingham Instructional Tips

Golf Tip of the Month for June 2017

From PGA Golf Professional Jerry Applegate

This month are going to talk about the pitch shot.  We have talked previously about the chip shot.  Remember, with the chip shot you start out with your hands in front of the clubhead and keep them there throughout the stroke.  This motion creates a limitation as to the distance you can hit this shot.  For most of us that distance is 10-40 yards (this is based on strength and skill level).  For the short shots longer than your chip shot, it now becomes a pitch shot.

If you remember Tiger Wood’s “stinger” shot.  He used the chipping motion with the hands staying in front of the clubhead and took a full hard swing.  He used a long iron or 3 wood and hit this shot 200-250 yards.  It was a shot he used in competition very successfully.

You have to make a fuller (but not totally full) swing for the pitch shot in which the centrifugal force of the swing forces your hands to cross in front of the clubhead.  This is what the “release” motion is in the golf swing.  You still want to use a lofted club (pitching wedge or sand wedge).  Take your normal set up with your feet shoulder width and the ball in the middle of your stance.  Set up with your hands slightly forward of the ball.  Take your normal swing.  Try to maintain a flex in your knees through impact.  We want to hit a high shot that lands softly.  Many times we have to go over bunkers, water or tall grass with this shot.

All aspects of the short game, pitching, chipping and putting are the most important parts of your game.  They comprise around 60% of the shots you hit.  They are also vital to scoring (and to improving your scoring). The great thing about the short game is that you get out what you put in.  What I mean by that is, the more you practice your short game, the better you get.  And, just a little bit of improvement in this area of your game can lower your scores a great deal!

Hope to see you out on the practice greens working on your short game!!! 


Jerry Applegate



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