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In a correct set-up for a proper pitch, the feet should be the length of a club head (5 inches) apart.
In a correct set-up for a proper pitch, the feet should be the length of a club head (5 inches) apart. (Andrew Rice/WorldGolf.com)

Whether chipping or pitching, setting up properly can save strokes around the greens

Andrew RiceBy Andrew Rice,

Whether setting up for a chip or a pitch, the address position should be the same.

The difference between chipping and pitching is simply wrist action - chipping requires no wrist action, while pitching requires some wrist action due to the length or trajectory of the shot. The set-up, however, remains the same.

Here are seven points to work towards:

1. The feet should be the length of a club head (5 inches) apart. The stance needs to be this narrow in order to keep the weight on the front foot.

2. The ball is positioned in the center of the feet. This is to deter the leading edge from catching in the turf. If you position the ball too far back, you give up all your bounce and expose the sharp leading edge to the turf.

3. Grip the golf club as you normally would for a regular full swing; there is no need to grip down unless you are using an 8-iron or longer club.

4. Cozy up to the ball. Good chippers and pitchers set up fairly close to the ball and so should you.

5. If the target is at 12 o'clock, the body should be aligned toward 11 o'clock (speaking as a right hander).

6. The weight is positioned so that it favors the front foot 60 percent vs. 40 percent. Make sure this is subtle, as shifting the weight too far forward increases the chance of the club "digging" at impact.

7. As a result of the weight being forward, the hands are shifted forward only a slight amount. There should be no conscious effort to push the hands forward.

Once you have acquired a proper point from which to start, now go ahead and trust your instinct. Go out of your way to react to the target, and avoid thoughts of how hard to hit the shot.

What do you think Larry Bird thought as he released another shot from behind the three-point line? I don't know, but I do know it was not how hard to shoot the ball.

Once you're set, simply react to the target. Oh yes, and practice helps, too.

Prior to accepting his current position as Director of Instruction at Berkeley Hall in Bluffton, S.C., Andrew Rice spent six years working for David Leadbetter as a senior instructor at the Junior Golf Academy in Florida. He has coached PGA, LPGA and Champions Tour golfers along with multiple USGA champions. His first book - "It's All About Impact - The Winners of 165 Majors Prove It!" - was published in the fall of 2009.

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