Dave Pelz: All My Secrets

Pelz On: Pitch & Chip Shots

Knock the ball closer to make putting easy.
Pitching your ball closer to the hole is critical to lowering your scores, because where you putt from is more important than how well you putt. The shorter your putts, the more you will make.

But greens seem to be getting faster—with more slope and tighter pin positions—each passing year, making the task of pitching it close a real challenge. This is where a few good short-game practice sessions can come in handy. Use my pitching and chipping tips, and as you practice, remember this advice: Practice makes permanent (not perfect). Poor practice creates permanently poor golfers. Only good practice, with accurate feedback on what you're doing right versus what you're doing wrong, leads to lasting improvement.

Should You Carry Four Wedges?
Absolutely! More than 50 PGA Tour players carry four wedges, and you miss more greens than they do. Different wedges with different lofts and bounce angles create more varied shots around the greens. Make short-to-long swings and accelerate through impact to eliminate the 40-yard weakness from your game.

Try This: Keep it Low
If you play in windy conditions, you need to learn how to keep your shots low and minimize backspin so you can bump-and-run the ball onto the green. The bump-and-run effectively helps the ball stay under the wind and avoid its severe consequences. Even on calm days, bouncing and rolling shots up onto hard and fast greens, rather than flying them all the way to the flagstick, is a skill worth having.

From the Pelz School: Avoid Wrist Breakdown
Using your wrist muscles and hinging your wrists while hitting a chip shot is like asking for trouble. Both fat and skulled shots are the typical results. By swinging your hands, arms and club together as a unit, you can keep the club from outpacing your hands and achieve consistency in your chipping performance.

Try This: The Cut-Lob Shot
When you need a high, soft shot to a tight pin position, only a cut-lob shot will get the job done. Aim about five steps to the left of your target, then open the face of your wedge so the lead edge points just right of the target. Keep your ball position centered in your stance and swing much harder than you would normally from this distance. If you accelerate through to a full finish, you'll see a nice cut-lob shot land and stop near the flagstick.

Hitting it Fat? Why and How to Stop
Perfect ball position for pitching is precisely centered between your ankles (not your toes). That's where your swing starts clipping the grass before it bottoms out about 2 inches forward of center.

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