NCGA Golf

Summer 2017

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NCGA.ORG | SUMMER 2017 39 Here's some new information that wasn't widely taught until a year or two ago about the pitch shot that I want to share with you: 1. The kinematic sequence of the pitch shot differs from the full swing. Whereas the lower body starts t he downswing when making a full swing, the upper body starts the downswing sequence for pitch shots. That's why you see Tour pros hitting pitch shots with a more flat-footed swing—without a lot of weight shift, compared to their full swing. 2. Previously, I taught golfers to place 60% of their weight on the front foot for most short pitch and chip shots. But thanks to new force plate technology, which measures the amount of torque and ground reaction forces generated during a golf swing, teachers now know that the weight stays 60% on the left leg on the backswing. Photo 10 shows how that weight distribution should look and feel. Another way that the pitch shot swing is different from the full swing is with the release. On a full swing, I want your arms to cross over after impact so that the face closes (pointing down half way through the finish). But the club- face should still be open, or aiming more toward the sky, at the follow-through (Photo 11). There are several types of pitch shots, but the one I want you to focus on promotes a lower trajectory (Photo 12). The key to this type of pitch is to have a forward shaft lean at address and impact (Photo 13). The forward shaft lean has a lot of positive benefits that will help you get up and down more often. A forward shaft lean will: • Eliminate the "bounce" of the club (the angle between the leading edge, trailing edge and the ground) • Move the ball higher up the face at impact • Reduce the loft—which makes the ball go farther— allowing you to take a shorter and slower swing • Create a downward angle of attack, which produces backspin What happens if you don't have that forward shaft lean? If the shaft is reaching the ball in a more neutral position you are probably flipping the hands at impact. The result either will be a chunked shot into a hazard or a skull across the green (Photo 14). So there you have it: A three-pronged approach to making the most of your limited practice time—by mastering the shots that you'll hit most often. PITCHING 3 60% 40% Keith Lyford is Director of Instruc- tion at the Golf Academy at Old Greenwood in Truckee. Lyford is a Top 100 Instructor and a three- time WCPGA Teacher of the Year. Vic Williams is Editor of Golf Tips Magazine. 10 11 12 13 14

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