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Method | Pitch Control

This article appeared in the Winter 2012 Issue of LINKS.


Seve Ballesteros 1988
Imagine throwing a golf ball underhanded with your right hand—if that’s your “feel” hand—to a spot short of the flag. Then simply try to reproduce the weight and feel of that action with the wedge in your hands. Natural Golf

Bobby Jones 1966
There is one significant difference to be noted between the method of the expert player and that of the duffer; in one case the swing is amply long, smooth, and unhurried, in the other it is short and jerky because the club hasn’t been swung far back enough. Bobby Jones on Golf

Dave Pelz 1999
Many golf pros teach that the lower body should remain totally still during the pitch shot. They reason that you don’t need power from the lower body, so they try to simplify the swing by eliminating moving parts. I don’t agree. It’s true that you don’t want to be driving your legs on pitch shots, but you do need enough lower-body motion to keep your body parts synchronized during the swing. Golfers who freeze from the hips down become arms-and-hands players. Rather than swinging, they hit at the ball, producing inconsistent results, especially under pressure. Dave Pelz’s Short Game Bible

Nick Faldo 1995
I think in terms of repeating a three-quarter length swing, and control my acceleration through the ball with the rotary motion of my body. The swing thought I use is “stomach and buttons.” I focus on turning my stomach away from the ball, then try to finish with my shirt buttons facing the hole. That gets my upper body working correctly and also helps me to establish good rhythm. A Swing for Life

Johnny Miller 1976
I believe if you have a 70-yard pitch and there’s nothing special you need to do with it you should make a violent move at the ball. Swing back at your normal tempo and then accelerate through the ball. My follow-through on a 90-yarder looks almost like I’m hitting a 2-iron. Pure Golf

Phil Mickelson  2009
Sometimes you control distance by lengthening or shortening your swing. A more effective technique, especially in the tricky 30–50 yard range, is to alter your ball position and adjust the position of the clubface at address. By making adjustments in these two areas you can vary your distance tremendously without changing the length or speed of your swing. Secrets of the Short Game

Stan Utley  2007
So how do I control the distance of my pitch shots? The way most players do it is by swinging their arms faster. I do it mostly with the size and speed of my lower body pivot. My pivot is small and smooth on short shots, larger with a more aggressive turn through on longer shots. The Art of the Short Game

Bert Seymour 1924
Playing the mashie from say 80 yards tests one’s judgment. The club should be picked up with the right hand to about the level of the player’s head. The clubhead should then be driven under the ball with the object of banging it high in the air to drop down on the green and stop there, the nearer the pin the better. There must be no pivoting at all, and you cannot keep the head down too long on these shots. The ball should almost have reached the green before you raise your eyes to see it. All About Golf

Ken Venturi 1997
Leg action is the key to pitching the ball well. The faster you move the right knee toward the left leg in the downswing, the more spin you will put on the ball. You’ll get softer shots, too. With no leg action, you work your hands and hit a lot of shots with less spin or bite on them. GOLF Magazine’s Complete Book of Instruction                                                           

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