Continuing with the short game theme, which is the easiest area of your game to improve your score, let’s move on to short pitch shots. If you are a beginner, then this is where you should learn the motion of the swing and then develop this action into a full swing. For you regular weekend warriors, this action will help you with your overall ball striking and distance control from tricky situations around the green.
The problem comes from having learned a poor pitching technique setting up with the hands too far forward and ball back in the stance producing the cricket cover drive which is not helpful for golf in terms of ball control. The further back you position the ball the hands naturally get more forward, the club shaft leans too far forward, reducing loft and creating a digging edge.
The Correct Set-Up
I like to set up with my feet fairly close together, standing closer to the ball than for a normal shot, with my legs still athletic and golf ball forward of centre in my stance. When I grip the club, my left hand is opposite the ball. This gives enough shaft lean without being excessive. My arms are hanging straight down close to my body. Grip the club softly and keep the arms passive/quiet.
The Correct Motion
Use your shoulders to start the motion and allow the wrists to fold naturally through the weight of the club. I have two pictures here where I wanted to hit a 30 yard shot and a 50 yard shot. You can see there isn’t much difference in body action but the wrists have folded more to hit the ball further. This is the difference between the 9 o’clock position to 10 o’clock position on a watch face.
When you feel you have loaded enough energy for the shot distance, let the club weight fall back into impact and allow the left wrist to fold back naturally creating the kick point. Impact position is very similar to set up but you can see the lower body continues the motion with left hip travelling up as a consequence.
Keep turning the body up to a finish. When the left wrist folds naturally then you will have maintained the loft on the club and you should be able to set a glass of drink on your clubface just like on a tray!
Practice with your right hand only. Start without the club and practice the motion of the swing we talked about above. Let the wrist fold naturally. Try and replicate the finish shown with the palm of the hand facing the sky. Just think… tray of drinks!