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Pitch It Like A Pro by Sean Hanley
Web Master
By Web Master
Published on 08/14/2008

Pitch It Like A Pro by Sean Hanley


            There are certain times during a round of golf that require you to hit a short shot, such as a pitch shot. The type of shot where the ball flight is high lofted and stops very quickly on the putting green. Some situations where this shot can come in handy are, hitting over a bunker, hitting to a pin location near the front of the green or getting over wet terrain. The best way to achieve this is to use a club that has a lot of loft, your wedges (pitching wedge, sand wedge or lob wedge). The swing used in a pitch shot is a partial version of a full swing, it requires consistent practice.


When hitting a standard pitch shot

1. Use a square club face at address.

2. Make a slightly inside to inside swing path.

3. Hit the ball with a slightly steep angle (keep divot on target side of ball).

            To help with the pitch shot

1. Place more weight on your target foot (front foot).

2. Position your stance slightly open to the target line, but keep your shoulders aligned parallel to the target line.

3. Lean handle of club a little towards the target to promote that position at impact.


            The backswing consists of an arm swing up and down allowing the wrists to hinge slightly and as you come into impact. Allow your body to rotate and face the target, each time brushing the grass in the forward swing. Attempt to make the backswing and the follow through the same in length. The distance of the ball flight is controlled by the length and pace (speed) of the swing.

            Most of your pitch shots should be hit with your sand wedge, since it has about eight degrees more loft than a pitching wedge. You will notice that the sand wedge is designed with a flange which is a larger than normal sole on the club head. This design allows the club head to skim the sand rather than dig in therefore it is easier to get out of the bunker. So when choosing the sand wedge for the pitch shot be sure you have a “good lie” (cushion under the ball). This will ensure that the flange doesn’t bounce off the ground creating the “skull shot” that rolls across the green with speed. The sand wedge allows the ball to fly higher, land softer and roll less than the pitching wedge. The pitching wedge has a lower degree of loft, and the ball flight will have a lower trajectory and roll farther on landing.

            Practice using both clubs and try to notice the difference in ball flight and roll. On the course certain situations will dictate which club choice is appropriate, for example; Is there enough green to let the ball roll? Than the choice would be the pitching wedge. Do I have to stop the ball quickly? Than the choice is the sand wedge or lob wedge. Making the right club choice and mastering the pitch shot is key to lowering your score.


Sean Hanley

Director of Instruction

Cranwell Golf School

Lenox, MA