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John Cook continues his “whole in one” series with a look at chipping and pitching techniques to improve your golf game. What’s the difference between chipping and pitching? Chip shots are normally played from within 10 yds of the putting surface. Pitch shots are played from approximately 50 yds and closer. He shares his expertise about how to improve both types of shot.

John Cook is Managing Director of finiteapps.com

  • English Amateur Champion
  • European Tour winner
  • Level 5 and European Tour Coach
  • Past under 18 England Boys Coach
  • National Coach to Thailand.

“If a lot of people gripped a knife and fork the way they do a golf club, they’d starve to death”  Sam Snead

chipping and pitching

John Cook

The Chip shot

Chipping the ball properly from off the side of the green can be very rewarding, because it’s a shot we are faced with time and time again.  The ball should be struck in a way that makes the ball skid and then run towards the hole.  The worst thing that can happen is for your left wrist to collapse through impact, resulting in a scooped shot.

  1. First address the ball, holding the bottom of the grip
  2. Stand with the ball towards the back foot
  3. Lean forwards (towards the target) until your head is in front of the ball. This will encourage a steep backswing and, therefore, a steeper approach back to the ball, (essential for this shot)
  4. Imagine you are chipping under a low bar, this will shorten your follow through, to give the result you are looking for
chipping and pitching

The chip shot

The Pitch shot

Are you looking for a high pitch or low pitch?  The position of the pin will determine whether you should pitch the ball in high or low.

If the pin is at the back of the green, which would normally mean you have plenty of green to play with, a low pitch can be preferential.  If the pin is at the front of the green, or tucked in behind a bunker, then a high pitch would be better.

chipping and pitching

The pitch shot

The Low Pitch

The low pitch is a very useful shot.  It obviously flies in low, but has plenty of backspin. Here`s how to play it:

  1. Position yourself so the ball is back in your stance
  2. Grip the club at the bottom of the grip
  3. Put 60% of your weight on your front foot, leaving 40% on your back foot
  4. Take the club back to waist height
  5. Accelerate through, stopping your follow through at waist height
  6. Picture the ball flying low

 

Back swing lob shot

The High Pitch

Here`s how to play the high pitch:

  1. Position yourself with the ball towards the front foot
  2. Aim your feet, knees, hips and shoulders a little left of the target
  3. Aim the clubface at the target
  4. Swing the club along a parallel line to your feet (across the line of the shot)
  5. At the address you will notice the club head is in front of your hands. Make sure you swing the club back, down and through, keeping the club head in front of your hands
  6. Picture the ball flying high and have a full follow through

The Lob Shot, otherwise known as the High Flying Pitch Shot, has been around for many years.  It was played by opening the face of a sand wedge, increasing the loft from 56 degrees to approximately 60 degs.  In actual fact many players still prefer to play it that way (me being one).

The introduction of the lob wedge was fairly recent.  This is a wedge that has 60° of loft, without opening the face of the club at all.  For many players, it has made the lob shot much easier to play.  Whether you open the face on a sand wedge or use a lob wedge, there are a couple of things you should know:

  1. Cock your wrists quickly on the back swing
  2. Un-cock your wrists under the ball on the down swing
  3. Keep the club head in front of your hands throughout the swing
  4. Be positive

The ball should land softly on the green, with very little run.  It is a good thought to try and slam dunk the ball straight into the hole.

Have a practice, you will soon find that the Chip and the Pitch Shots are the shots that improve your score beyond recognition.

Follow through lob shot

You can read more of John’s excellent golf tips in our 2018 July/August and September/October issues as well as July/August 2020 or in the sports articles sections on this website.

First published in the Oct/Nov 2020 issue of The Local Buzz

Images: John Cook and Shutterstock

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