Using a pitch can save strokes near the green

Golf is an extremely diverse and complicated game. To play this game at the highest possible level, it demands intense concentration, personal dedication, knowledge and drive.

Golf is an extremely diverse and complicated game. To play this game at the highest possible level, it demands intense concentration, personal dedication, knowledge and drive. Dedicating ones self to become the best they can be can take many years as there are so many different aspects to perfect.

Having said this, the single most attractive aspect of the game of golf is that anyone can play. People of all ages, gender, race and physical abilities can book a time and test their ability on the local golf course. Some play for the social aspect, others just enjoy the serene outdoor setting, some to get exercise and then there are those that prefer to challenge themselves and compete against other golfers.

No matter what your motivation is, the main goal is to hit the ball from tee to green in as few strokes as possible. As I have indicated in previous articles, almost 50 percent of the game is played on or around the putting green. It seems that the closer to the green we get, the more shots we take. This does not make sense because the closer we get the easier the stroke should be and as a result, the easier the shot should be to execute.

Technically, this statement is correct. In reality, most golfers have more difficulty executing the shot the closer they get to the green. As a result, I hear stories of how golfers were beside the green in two or three strokes and then they walked to the next hole writing a seven or an eight on the score card. The easiest shots can turn your round into a world of frustration.

One of the easiest strokes is the pitch shot. This is a shot that is generally played 10 to 40 yards from the green. Otherwise known as no mans land! I hear stories of golfers attempting to hit this shot and instead of pitching it up in the air, landing their ball on the green, they hit behind the ball sending it a couple of feet, or nailing the ball in the forehead sending it over the green. The most frustrating thing about doing this is that you are now faced with the same shot.

To properly execute this shot you need to follow a few rules, including the stance, acceleration, ball position, tempo, and finish position.

The idea of this shot is to hit it up in the air, carry over the long grass, land the ball on the green and let it roll to the hole like a putt. Although slightly different in the set up, it is similar to a regular swing.

The swing is much smaller than the full swing therefore our feet width must be narrower. Position approximately 65 percent of your weight on your front foot. This will assist you in striking down on the ball. The ball should be positioned for the average golfer approximately the same position as for regular shot (slightly forward of the center of your stance).

Now that you have taken your stance you are ready to swing. Distance is determined by how far back the club goes, not at the speed at which you swing. What most golfers will do is take the club to the top of their backswing and then either accelerate or decelerate to determine how far their ball will go. This is the most common mistake and is the one that will cause the majority of inconsistent hits.

When you’re in your set up position, imagine looking at a clock. Your left arm (for right handed golfers) is the small hand of the clock. Swinging back to the 7 o’clock position will send the ball a certain distance, 8 o’clock a little further, 9 o’clock further yet and so on. The distance you take the club back will determine how far the ball will travel.

One of the most common mistakes golfers make on a pitch shot, and any shot for that matter, is that they swing to the ball, not through the ball. What I mean by this is as soon as you make contact the swing ends. Like any other aspect of the game, there is a finish position with pitching. In fact, if you do not finish the end result will be less than desirable.

A full finish position includes swinging to where your body or belt buckle faces your target. All of your weight is on your front foot. Your back foot is up on your tip toe and the club is up by your shoulder. The size of your backswing will determine if your hands and club will finish over your left shoulder (for right handed golfers).

Finally, tempo, tempo, tempo. The speed of your swing must be smooth back and then accelerate through to your finish position. Too fast of a backswing will generally cause you to grip the club too tight and the end result will be less than desirable.

Implementing these key fundamentals when you are faced with a small pitch shot will assist you in solid contact, proper ball flight and lower scores. Consult your local CPGA professional if you continue to have problems executing this shot.

Play well and enjoy your week on the golf course.

Scott Bergdahl is the teaching pro at Lakewood Golf Resort near Sylvan Lake.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read