Pitch With Your Whole Body

Pitch With Your Whole Body
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research

Pitching the ball requires a different action than chipping. In pitching, you want the ball to go up in the air for most of its flight, land softly, and then amble gently to the hole. This requires much more of a full-body motion. Instead of “staccato,” which is the image word used in chipping, the image word for pitching is “syrupy.” 

The distance of your shot is controlled by two mechanics: 1) the position of your lead arm during the swing, and 2) the speed of your body rotation. Picture a clock with you standing in the middle. Your head is at 12 o’clock, and your feet are at 6 o’clock. If you have a very short shot, your lead arm goes to 7 o’clock. As the shot gets longer, your arm points to 8, 9, 10 o’clock, and so on. 

The setup: Place the majority of your weight on your front side (approximately 70\30), and it starts, stays, and finishes in this distribution. Play the ball in the middle of your feet, using your highest-lofted club. The more you want the ball to spin, the more you open your stance, and the more aggressively you swing down your shoulder line. As you open your stance for increased spin, make sure that the clubface continues looking at the hole – this, in effect, opens it to the path, producing spin.

The swing: The key to the swing itself is to rotate both the upper and lower body at the same rate. Unlike chipping, you want the club to be vertical while keeping the left arm low in order to provide the angle of attack necessary to hit the ball up in the air. 

The pitch is a smooth, flowing stroke where you hit the ball, primarily with the rotation of your body, led by your back knee. The goal is to apply the clubface under the ball without closing the clubface as you turn into a full finish.

Although most pitches are played with the ball in the middle of the stance, this tour pro has the ball a bit back of center in order to hit it lower with more spin. Her left arm is at ~9 o’clock with wrists fully cocked.

She has rotated beautifully, releasing her right knee and navel to the hole. Note that to preserve the loft of the clubface, she has not allowed her forearms to roll over. If there was a mirror on the clubface, she could see her reflection — a good guide for a pitch shot.

If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.

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