One of the best ways to tidy up your long game is by practicing different length pitch shots.
One of the best ways to tidy up your long game is by practicing different length pitch shots.This will encourage a more compact swing and give you more confidence with shots from shorter distances, which may lead to getting up-and-down more often or allowing you to hit shots closer for more birdie or par opportunities.
When preparing for events on Tour I would place four or five markers out on a practice area. These markers (which could be wood covers, buckets etc) would be placed at 10-metre intervals starting from 20 metres through to 50 or 60 metres. I would then pitch three balls at each distance and experiment with different swing lengths using my sand wedge, pitching wedge and 9-iron.
You can actually do this kind of practice in a small space but ensure you don’t hit more than a few shots in a row to the same distance marker.
It is important when doing this kind of drill to concentrate on getting the feel of the correct length backswing necessary for each distance.
A good way to rehearse the length of swing you require is to feel like your swing is directly related to a clockface. For example, at address you start at 6 o’clock, and hip high is at 9 o’clock in the backswing and 3 o’clock in the follow-through. A full swing is like being at 12 o’clock.
Get used to swinging back to a point on the clockface and following through to the opposite equal point on the clockface, like 8 o’clock to 4 o’clock. I suggest you draw up a table and record your pitching distances using a few different clubs. Also, try using three different backswing lengths (8, 10 and 12 o’clock) with each club. Using this technique will eliminate a common fault in most golfers where they swing back too back far and then decelerate on the forward swing through impact.
Former LPGA Tour player Cherie Byrnes is the ALPG and PGA accredited head professional at Hamilton Island Golf Club. Cherie can be booked for lessons on (07) 4948 9760.