PITCHING: SETUP VS. IMPACT
By Michael Balderstone, PGA Master Professional
Most golfers don’t realise is that by simply pre-setting your impact position you give yourself a far greater chance of achieving the correct impact position. In order to achieve this impact position we simply allow our setup to dictate how we find ourselves at impact.
You need to start by understanding that a pitch shot is a slightly lower shot with a controlled spin rate. In order to execute this lower shot we need to allow our weight to be positioned predominantly on the forward side (left side for right handed golfer, right side for left handed golfer). This in turn should result in your hands being positioned slightly forward. A common misconception is that you need to position your golf ball further back in order to promote a lower ball flight, however by simply adjusting your weight and hand position your golf ball can remain in a central position. If the ball is too far back your angle of approach may become too steep, which seriously affects consistency of strike.
Once you have your address position correct you simply need to use your body to execute the shot. I.e. Rotating your body more than your hands and arms. The moment your arms begin to do more work than your body you unfortunately lose the correct angle into the ball and more importantly the loft on the club.
By looking at the pictures below you will notice how my address position and impact position are close to being identical. There’s just a bit more weight on the lead side, the body is a little more open and the shaft has more lean for less dynamic loft for a penetrating flight. Remember that the impact position is the most important but your setup will help determine how good your impact position will be.
Michael Balderstone is a PGA Master Professional. He is the founder and Managing Director of Balderstone Sports Institute, which operates South Africa’s premier PGA accredited golf academy.