Understand the ins-and-outs of these fundamental short game shots.
Pitching vs. Chipping. They’re two of those pesky topics that many golfers think they know the difference between, but when really tested on the issue can come up short. We get it, the subtle differences can be confusing! Both are used around the green and can be accomplished using a bevy of clubs in the bag. The key differences come in set up technique and impact, causing the ball to have different trajectory, spin rate, and rollout. Take a look below for some quick chipping and pitching basics for your short game and be sure to check out the video featuring GOLFTEC Director of Teaching Quality, Brad Skupaka!
It’s key to first understand setup changes needed with chipping compared a full swing to ensure a clean strike and the low, predictable trajectory we’re looking for.
To accomplish this, start with a narrowed stance, about 80 percent of your weight on the lead foot and ball positioned back in the stance. A good measure for ball position is to place it just forward (toward the target) of the big toe of your trail foot. The handle of the club should be about even with your lead thigh (not much more forward than a normal setup position), and you will also need to stand closer to the ball and raise the handle, so the shaft is at a more vertical angle.
Also, while using a wedge is often the right club for these shots, it’s also often wise to pick an 8- or 9-iron because it can be more predictable than a higher-lofted wedge.
The setup for a pitch shot is very similar to a chip shot, but your weight remains more centered, with only about 55 to 60 percent favoring the lead foot.
Your knees should be also be slightly more flexed than with a chip shot, feet slightly farther apart, and a ball position more forward (in the middle of your stance) with the handle location remaining neutral.
The strike of a chip shot is slightly different than a pitch shot. Most chip shots are struck ball first, compared to pitch shots that see the ball and ground contacted at about the same time.
Simply stated, this difference occurs because the ball-back, weight-forward setup of a chip shot creates a steeper attack angle and contact occurring earlier in the downswing in relation to where the swing arc bottoms out.
The chip shot setup also keeps the clubhead’s loft reduced to create lower trajectory shots in comparison to pitch shots, which yield higher, softer shots with more spin from a setup encouraging a shallower attack angle, more use of the club’s bounce and an impact point closer to the bottom of the swing arc.
Short Game Tips: Add spin when pitching and chipping
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