Short Pitch Shots
The length of a short pitch shots depends on how far you hit the ball or how far your longer pitch flies. In my opinion, these are shots you need to hit when you can’t hit a low chip or don’t have enough green to keep your ball low. For example, flying it over a bunker, carrying it over long grass, or hitting to an elevated green.
For simplicity, think of these shots as high chips. You are going to use a lofted club, a sand wedge, and make the same basic stroke as a chip but change your set up to get a different result.
The HIGH chip
The high chip is going to go higher than your low chip shots but the strokes are going to be similar. All you need to do is change your set-up.
The Highest Chip or a “Short Pitch”
So don’t get wrapped up in semantics, you can call this whatever you want. I am calling this the “highest chip” because I want you to keep your wrist out of the shot. No wrist = chip. I also want you to visualize that you are making the same stroke as the low chip. Here you are going to make the same stroke but change your set-up to change the height on the ball. Chances are you will not need your ball to go any higher than this shot. Keep it simple!
The Flop Shot
The flop shot is a very risky shot that takes some practice. It is “risky’ because it is a short shot that requires a large swing. If it is not hit properly the ball could go well over the green or only a few feet forward. Go ahead and practice this shot but take to the golf course and use with caution and only when absolutely necessary.
Playing it Smart!
Big numbers or “blow up holes” happen but when the shots add up around the green, it is usually because players made poor decisions. Granted hindsight is 20/20, but you need to hit shots that are smart for your situation and level of confidence and aptitude. That is good course management. Check out this video of a perfect example.
Deciding whether to go to high or low. Visualize the shot ahead of you and what it should look like. Can you afford for the ball to come inflow and run? Or do you need to hit it high and stop quicker. Then chose the club and swing you practiced in previous lessons to execute the shot.
High Handicappers start at Level 1 and work your way up. Here is your challenge for the CHIP SHOT:
Level 1: Place one aiming stick or club on the front of the green. Take three big steps back on to the fairway and drop 10 balls. Your challenge is hit and land all 10 balls over over the stick.
Level 2: Place another stick two paces further on to the green than the first stick. Now hit 10 balls and land as many as possible between the two sticks. Goal is 7.
Level 3: Place 3 tees in the green at different distances. For example; place a tee one pace on the green. Take 3 large steps and place another tee. Take 3 large steps and place another tee. Pick your club and hit the first ball to the first tee, the next ball to the second and the third ball to the last tee. The challenge here is that you only have one ball to get your distance control. See if you can control your distance on 3 consecutive shots. Then switch clubs. 🙂
Level 4: Do the same drill above but vary the distance you are from the tee.
Level 4: VIDEO BELOW – Place a tee on the green and step 3 paces off the green. Using your SW, PW and 8 iron hit 5 chips with each club and try to land close to tee. Observe how far the ball rolls. The more consistent the fly and roll with each club the more consistent your impact position. Notice if there is a ratio of fly to roll that you can use as a formula to help you decide the best club to use with each chip you encounter on the course. For example, on a flat lie to a flat green my PW flies 40% of the distance and rolls 60% (depending on green speed). If need be pace off how far the ball flew to the tee and then how many paces it rolled to get the ratio. Note: If your fly is inconsistent work on controlling the length or your swing and your tempo. If your roll is inconsistent, either your ball position is varying or your wrists are in the swing too much.
Level 5: Do the same drill above but vary the distance you are from the tee. The fly:roll ratio should stay the same.
You CAN do this!
High Handicappers start at Level 1 and work your way up. Here is your challenge for Short Pitch Shots
Level 1: With your SW, hit 5 chips to a tee 3 paces on the green with the ball on your right toe (low chip) and then 5 with the ball in the middle. Notice the difference in height and roll with each ball position.
Level 2: Walk 10 – 20 yards off the green. Pick a hole and with the high chip (ball in middle) hit 10 chips. Challenge is to hit 5 within 8 feet of the hole (5 within 4 feet for low handicaps).
Level 3: From the same spot, hit 10 short pitch shots (the highest chip). Challenge is to hit 5 within 8 feet of the hole (5 within 4 feet for low handicaps). Note: if you struggle with this shot stick with the shot you do BEST!
Level 4: Pick three different length shots. For example, 10 yards off green, 20 yards then 30 yards. Hit 5 balls from each spot changing the length of your swing to change the distance the ball flies. Challenge is to hit 7 of the total shots with 8 feet for high handicappers and 4 feet for low handicapper.
Level 5: Do same Challenge as above but you get 1 ball and 1 try to get the distance correct. Goal is 2 out of 3 within 8 feet (or 4 feet).
Level 6: At one distance off the green and from the hole, with 3 balls, hit a low chip, high chip and highest chip. Note each ball should land in a different spot and roll a different distance. Keep repeating until you can hit 2 out of 3 within 8 feet (or 4 feet).
You CAN do this!