I recently had a student proclaim in a short game clinic that the shot he was choosing was the “pitch-and-pray.” While summoning a higher-power to hit over a Maverick’s sized bunker could be helpful, wishing and hoping is not a powerful strategy for any delicate pitch shot.
To encourage confidence and eliminate risk, try these check-points when hitting a high pitch shot:*
- Choose your highest lofted club.
- Play the ball in the MIDDLE of the stance.
- Set-up with 60% of the weight on the front/left foot.
- A modest “hinge” in the backswing (on plane/directly down the target line) will encourage a higher trajectory.
- At impact, make sure the handle is slightly ahead of the clubhead to eliminate inaccurate ball contact.
- Naturally accelerate through impact to avoid unnecessary deceleration.
Afterward, ceremoniously perform a dance to the golf gods, for they are ever fickle, and may be called upon in the near future for the next pitch-and-pray.
*Assuming the ball is on a flat lie, not sitting in thick rough.
Dodie Mazzuca is the author of “Golf Sutras: Lessons for Transforming the Mental Game with Yoga’s Inner Wisdom” and founder of Golf PROformance. She teaches golf lessons, golf yoga workshops, and Mindfulness for Golf programs in Santa Cruz, CA.