The tee shot succeeded, with the second shot the ball was placed near the green. And now? Now the ball has to be placed as close to the hole as possible. A pitch is now the right choice.
Up to now, it has been a matter of hitting the ball as far and as straight as possible with the right swing. Driver, fairway woods or long irons were helpful in this. But how do you place the ball on the green now?
The right shot should ensure that the white ball does not fly far, but high. After all, the steeper the angle of impact, the more power is dissipated into the ground and the less the ball rolls after it lands. A little backspin can also help.
The pitch provides exactly the right conditions for this. It ensures a parabolic flight, the ball starts steeply, describes an arc and lands just as steeply. In this way, a good approach can succeed, the basis for a two-putt, because more strokes should not be needed on the green itself.
Even new golfers and advanced beginners quickly realize: the pitch is one of the most important shots in this game. After all, what good is a clean drive if the ball cannot be placed well afterwards? The hole is ruined, more strokes have to be noted on the scorecard than desired and also hoped for.
Sure, you can ruin any hole with any shot. But failed long shots can usually be saved better than a failed green placement.
Anyone who has seen the ball land not near the hole but in the rough next to or behind the green in this situation knows how annoying this is and how quickly it takes significantly more strokes than were actually necessary and planned.
The key to a successful round of golf is not only to practice long shots on the range, but also to use the practice facilities for pitch training. Distances of around 100 meters should be considered.
The short irons and especially the wedges are used for the pitch. The basis for a pitch with parabolic ball flight is a large loft, i.e. the largest possible angle of the clubface compared to the vertical.
The swing is no different from that of normal iron play. However, the club should hit the ball in the downward motion as much as possible. This also creates backspin, which helps to keep the ball from rolling much at impact.
What can be observed with a well-executed pitch - after hitting the ball - is a relatively large divot, i.e. a piece of grass or ground, because the swing path leads a little further down after the moment of impact. Of course, the divot should be put back and trampled down again immediately afterwards.
Many new golfers shy away from divots because they think it will damage the course. Also, the fear of a powerful rebound in the wrist and arm often arises at the beginning, it could be unhealthy or painful, so the thought. But with a well-executed stroke, only the upper turf is "shaved". Put back, it quickly grows tight again, and wrists and arms can easily withstand it.
But in the end, all this does not ensure that the ball remains directly at the point of impact when pitching. Therefore, the 2/3-1/3 rule should be taken into account here, which states that the ball covers two thirds of the distance in the air and one third on the ground.
So, when addressing the ball, you should not aim at the point where the ball should stay, but rather at the point where it should land. Again, a lot of practice is needed here to be able to place the ball as desired.
Swing technique and power must go hand in hand here to get a good result. And that is the special feature. Because normally the same force is always used when teeing off, and the distance the ball is to travel is influenced by the choice of club.
With the pitch, on the other hand, the choice of club is limited, so here the swing must also be used in a dosed manner. As a good measure, half a swing is usually sufficient.
Otherwise, the following points should be noted, especially for high-handicappers: The stance should be shoulder width, the ball should be centered in front of the feet and the body weight should rest evenly on both feet.
In addition, the hands should also be positioned centrally at address and the wrists should not be angled more than 90 degrees in the highest upswing position.
Bottom line: have fun practicing and don't be afraid to hit the grass.
P.S.: The pitch - as already emphasized - is only used at greater distances of about 100 meters to the hole or green. If the ball is already short of the green, then the chip should be used. More about this in the next article in this series.