Connect with us

Instruction

The keys to pitching it tight

Published

on

My members at Naples National Golf Club experience a lot of difficult pitch shots from all sorts of different lies. I always tell them: “If you have a great setup and maintain a simple technique, you can really save shots around the greens.”

Here are my keys when helping my students improve their pitching efficiency.

Technique

Every pitch shot that we hit around the greens uses the same technique. Our setup is what changes our shot selection.

The keys I emphasize with my students of all levels are the following

All pitch shots

  1. Narrow stance
  2. Straighten the back leg and flex the front, then mirror the image in the finish position (see photo)
  3. Arm length remains straight throughout the pitch, “hands and wrists are along for the ride”
  4. The loft of the golf club never changes from address to finish
  5. Back heel comes off the ground in your finish position

Club selection

First, start by deciding which club you’d like to use. Golfers of all abilities vary from using 7-irons up to 60-degree wedges, and it really depends on the course conditions that you normally play. Here at our club, firm and fast conditions lead me to grabbing my 60-degree Titleist Vokey the most, but my 48 and 52-degree wedges get selected as venues change, green speeds get slower, and/or turf conditions soften.

Shot selection

Once we’ve determined our club, we need to decide on the trajectory of your pitch. I suggest as a good start is having two “go-to” shots around the greens. The first is a lower running-shot with less carry and more roll. Here I’ve selected my 52-degree wedge but have made these key setup adjustments to create the low flight and low spin required to knock it close.

Low pitch shot keys

  1. Shaft leaned slightly forward
  2. Ball position on the inside of your trail foot
  3. Face closed to decrease loft and backspin

If the pitch shot required calls for more spin, then make these adjustments to your setup to create a shot that generates higher trajectory and an increase in spin. In this case, I’ve grabbed my 60-degree wedge to use the loft to stop the ball quickly.

High pitch shot keys

  1. Shaft angle straight
  2. Ball forward in the stance (driver ball position)
  3. Face wide open to use the loft to create a higher trajectory

One thing I stress to my students is to not worry some much about clubhead speed around the greens to create spin. The focus should be on a consistent setup and solid contact which will create reliable spin and trajectory on your short game shots. Having a tempo and rhythm that is similar in speed on the backswing and downswing (i.e. Steve Stricker, Luke Donald, Jason Day) is where you’ll start to get the flight and spin you’re looking for and seeing your scores drop.

Your Reaction?
  • 57
  • LEGIT17
  • WOW8
  • LOL2
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP1
  • OB2
  • SHANK8

Jake is the Head Golf Professional at Naples National Golf Club in Naples, FL. He is a Pittsburgh native and Professional Golf Management major from Methodist University and former Golfstat #1 ranked Division III player in the country. Jake has worked at Riviera Country Club, Augusta National for the Masters Tournament, Myopia Hunt Club, Calusa Pines, Sankaty Head, Muirfield Village and Seminole Golf Club among others in his young career. Jake has a deep passion for improving his students' games as well as developing his Assistant Professionals into future Head Golf Professionals. Jake credits his teaching philosophy to his mentors: Bill Davis, Bob Ford, Andrew Rice, Claude Harmon III, and Greg LaBelle.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Bill Davis

    Dec 20, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Way to go, Jake !
    Nice retention !!
    You’re on your way ????

  2. Acemandrake

    Jun 29, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Good info. Just have to practice 🙂

    A wider stance helps when hitting a high pitch shot.

  3. Joe

    Jun 28, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    Jake is a terrific teacher. He really sees what is not working and will stick with you in a session to find answers for your problem. I am working on my chipping and making progress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Instruction

Davies: Training the trail elbow in the golf swing

Published

on

Alistair Davies shares with you how to get the correct trail arm and elbow action in the downswing. He shares some great drills that can be done at the range or at home to help lower your scores.Get the correct training for the trail arm here today!

Your Reaction?
  • 7
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Instruction

The important lessons you can learn from Peter Senior’s golf swing

Published

on

He may not be a household name in the United States, but Australia’s Peter Senior has a swing for the ages. At 60 years old, Senior has 34 worldwide professional wins including the 2015 Australian Masters beating a competitive field with several top-ranked players in the world. Turning professional in 1978, his career has spanned over 40 years.

Senior’s game and swing have stood the test of time, and the longevity of his career should be recognized. Senior formerly worked with Australian instructor Gary Edwin, and the structure to this swing taught to Senior paved the way for a future of consistent, high-quality professional golf.

Having a great golf swing isn’t the only key to becoming a great golfer, one must learn to play the game. However, you can learn a lot from Senior’s swing.

The origin to Senior’s swing lies in his set-up. Senior sets up in what I call his “hitting angles” or a position that mirrors impact.

From this position, Senior is able to simply keep these angles he established at address throughout the swing. This is why the set-up is so critical. The further he deviates from these “hitting angles”, the more he will have to find that impact position with his body in the backswing and downswing. In other words, more movement. The goal of his backswing will be to maintain these original starting angles.

From the picture, Senior has maintained his original body shape that he established at address. From this position, it will be much easier and repeatable to return the club to impact.

Note how his impact position now mirrors his original address position. All his original angles were maintained with a slight bump of the body towards the target. From impact, he can simply fold up his arms as his right side of his body rotates around his left side, keeping the clubface square to the body.

This standing tall finish position with the head following the torso is much easier on the back. His body has come forward and around beautifully, covering the ball for a proper strike.

The beauty of Senior’s swing lies in its simplicity. The changes Senior made to his swing can apply to anyone. Let’s look at two simple drills to make your swing more efficient and powerful.

“To a large extent, my backswing is a product of my set-up position” – Tiger Woods, Golf Digest 2020

To get into these impact angles simply practice pushing into an impact bag with the head and shaft of the club. Make sure your trail arm is tucked, lowering the trail shoulder as you pressure the bag.

To get the feeling of the proper coil from this set-up position, grab an impact bag and hold the bag in front of you.

From here, swing the bag around you with your arms keeping the top of the bag level. You will feel the trail side of your body move back and the lead side move out, coiling around your spine angle.

The trail glute will also move back and around with this drill, a key move the great Ben Hogan used to pivot his body. To develop an efficient swing and a long, injury-free career, take note of Peter Senior’s key moves.

Your Reaction?
  • 178
  • LEGIT14
  • WOW4
  • LOL1
  • IDHT1
  • FLOP10
  • OB6
  • SHANK21

Continue Reading

Instruction

Fix early extension: 3 exercises to get your a** in gear

Published

on

It’s pretty common knowledge that “early extension” is a problem for golfers everywhere, but how does it affect your body and your game? And what can you do to fix it?

First, let’s look at early extension in its most simple form as a physical issue rather than a technical issue.

During the swing, we are asking our body to not only create force, but also resist a number of different forces created by the aggressive rotational pattern we call a golf swing. The problem comes down to each player’s unique dysfunction which will likely include bad posture, weak glutes or a locked out thoracic spine for example.

So when we then ask the body to rotate, maintain spine angle, get the left arm higher, pressure the ground, turn our hips to the target (to name a few) a lot of mobility, strength and efficiency are required to do all of this well.

And not everyone, well actually very few of us, has the full capability to do all of this optimally during the swing. The modern lifestyle has a lot to do with it, but so does physiology and it has been shown that tour players as well as everyday golfers suffer from varying levels of dysfunction but can ultimately get by relative to learned patterns and skill development.

But for the majority of players early extension leads to one or more of the following swing faults:

  • Loss of spine angle/posture. During the swing, a player will ‘stand up’ coming out of their original and desired spine angle, this alters the path and the plane of the club.
  • “Humping” the ball. Johnny Wunder’s preferred term for the forward and undesirable movement of the lower body closer to the ball.

Lack of rotation during the swing occurs due to the shift in the center of gravity caused by the loss of posture as your body does its best to just stay upright at all.

Ultimately, early extension leaves us “stuck” with the club too far behind us and nowhere to go—cue massive high push fade or slice going two fairways over (we’ve all been there) or a flippy hook as your body backs up and your hands do whatever they can to square it up.

Not only is this not a good thing if you want to hit a fairway, it’s also a really bad way to treat your body in general.

As a general rule, your body works as a system to create stability and mobility simultaneously allowing us to move, create force, etc. When we can’t maintain a stable core and spinal position or force is being transferred to an area that shouldn’t be dealing with it, we get issues. Likely, this starts with discomfort, possibly leading to prolonged pain, and eventually injury.

The body has a whole lot to deal with when you play golf, so it’s a good idea to start putting in the work to help it out. Not only will you reduce your risk of injury, but you’ll also likely play better too!

So we have three simple exercises for you here that you can do at home, or anywhere else, that will help you with the following elements

  • Posture
  • Core strength
  • Glute function
  • Thoracic mobility
  • Asymmetrical balance
  • Ground force development

#1: Forward lunge with rotation

  1. Standing tall, core engaged with a club in front of your chest, take a reasonable step forward.
  2. Stabilize your lead knee over your front foot and allow your trail knee to move down towards the ground, trying to keep it just above the surface.
  3. Maintaining your spine angle, rotate OVER your lead leg (chest faces the lead side) with the club at arm’s length in front of your torso keeping your eyes facing straight forwards.
  4. Rotate back to center, again with great control, and then step back to your original standing position.
  5. Repeat on other leg.

#2: Bird dog

  1. Get down on all fours again focusing on a quality, neutral spine position.
  2. Extend your left arm forward and your right leg backward.
  3. Control your breathing and core control throughout as we test balance, stability and core activation.
  4. Hold briefly at the top of each rep and return to start position.
  5. Repeat with right arm and left leg, alternating each rep.
  6. If this is difficult, start by working arms and legs individually, only life 1 arm OR 1 leg at a time but still work around the whole body.

#3: Jumping squat

  1. Start with feet shoulder-width apart, eyes fixed forward.
  2. Engage your squat by sending your knees forwards and out to create pressure and torque, whilst sending your hips down and back.
  3. Squat down as far as possible whilst maintaining a neutral spine, active core and heels on the ground.
  4. As you naturally come out of the squat, push the ground away using your whole foot, creating as much speed and force as possible as you jump in the air.
  5. Land with excellent control and deceleration, reset and repeat.

Got 10 minutes? Sample workout

3 Rounds

  1. 10 Forward Lunge with Rotation (5 each leg)
  2. 10 Bird Dog (5 Each side or 5 each limb if working individually)
  3. 5 Jumping Squats
  4. 1 Minute Rest

If you can take the time to make this a part of your routine, even just two or three times per week, you will start to see benefits all round!

It would also be a perfect pre-game warm-up!

And one thing you can do technically? Flare your lead foot to the target at address. A huge majority of players already do this and with good reason. You don’t have to alter your alignment, rather keep the heel in its fixed position but point your toes more to the target. This will basically give you a free 20 or 30 degrees additional lead hip rotation with no real side-effects. Good deal.

This is a great place to start when trying to get rid of the dreaded early extension, and if you commit to implementing these simple changes you can play way better golf and at least as importantly, feel great doing it.

 

To take your golf performance to new levels with fitness, nutrition, recovery, and technical work, check out everything we do on any of the following platforms.

Your Reaction?
  • 26
  • LEGIT1
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP2
  • OB2
  • SHANK8

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending