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May Tip

    By Scott Schneider,

    Of course, only dedicated practice can help you become a better short-game player,
    but if you master the key elements of pitching and chipping, you’ll discover an
    immediate improvement in your scores.

    One element is to address the golf ball with a slightly open stance in relation to your
    intended target line and position the golf ball off of your front heel. Keep your weight
    on your heels for balance and your hands even with the ball (no need to forward-
    press). The takeaway should be in one piece, with the shoulders, arms, hands and
    clubhead moving together for the first 18 inches of the backswing. Your wrists
    should hinge soon after this point.

    During the downswing, it’s essential that you move your back knee toward the front
    knee as you transfer your weight to the right side (for right-handed golfers). At
    impact, your weight should be distributed evenly to both sides. The mental image of
    two cymbals placed on the inside of both knees clanging at the point of contact is
    one that helps many of my students attain a solid pitch impact position.

    Another element to a successful pitch is distance control. The length of the swing
    determines the distance (longer backswings for longer pitches and shorter
    backswing for shorter pitches). Avoid making a long backswing for a short pitch, this
    will cause you to decelerate on the downswing. Instead, take a shot. Many students
    ask how to spin the golf ball when pitching. As mentioned before, by taking a shorter
    backswing and then increasing the speed of the trailing hand, along with the
    movement of the back knee into the shot, more spin will be imparted. A good lie in
    the fairway will allow for your best chance for spin. With some practice, you’ll learn
    when you can and can’t execute this type of shot.
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