Hitting a Soft Pitch Shot, a Long and Slow Swing
I have great touch, and play standard chip shots quite well. The problem is I can’t hit a soft pitch of any length to save my life. What do you suggest?
Bill “Long Ball” Barns
Jitterbug Gang Fan
I believe you when you say you have great touch. For many golfers, the inability to hit soft pitches has nothing to do with touch. Rather, it has to do with the pace of swing.
When it comes to low, running chip shots a golfer can get a way with just about any pace of stroke. A chip can be jabbed at, stabbed or poked. As long as you make good clean contact, you can get away with less than silky smooth action when you chip. But, for pitch shots, a long, lazy-seemingly slow-motion-swing is a must. You can’t hit lifeless pitch shots, the kind that die upon landing, with anything other than a long, lazy motion. This means slow back and slow through.
Once you make an effort to shape your swing around slow movement, soft pitch shots become much easier to produce.
Some folks find difficulty in distinguishing between the slow, lazy motion required for soft pitches, and a decelerating stroke.
These type players would do well to look at the golf swing not from the standpoint of pace, but rather total time elapsed. A good piece of advice may be, “Right now your pitch motion, from beginning to end takes 1.5 seconds. Let’s see you hit the ball to the same flag using a swing that takes 3 seconds from beginning to end.”
Thinking in terms of time instead of speed allows the golfer to improve his sense of rhythm, free of the fear he’s decelerating.
The pros and cons of a short, quick stroke are the same with regard to putting as they are chipping.
For instance, just like the jab can work to someone’s satisfaction when chipping, so can it for short putts. There are golfers out there who, with a quick jab, can sink a fair amount of ticklish putts of up to six feet or so. As the putts get longer, however, it is the player who uses the longer, slower stroke that fairs the best.
Therefore, I suggest, since the long, slow stroke can work well for chips, pitches, and putts both near and far, golfers choose to adopt it is as their own.
Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner
About the Author
The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.
You can reach Bobby at: www.bobbysteiner.com or firstname.lastname@example.org