This month we are focusing on a very important part of your golf play, the short game. Many times golf requires less than a full swing. This aspect of the game is called the approach. It consists of pitch and chip shots. The primary goal for approach shots is direction. These shots require the upper body to be more compact and controlled while the lower body stays fairly stationary, which creates stability. The choice of which shot to use is dependent upon distance from the green and the terrain around the greens.
A pitch shot is a high lofted shot that lands softly on the green and has little roll to it. The clubs that should be used for this shot are an 8 iron, 9 iron, pitching wedge, or sand wedge. This shot requires the hands to be higher on the grip. The stance a little less than shoulder width apart and the weight equally distributed between the two feet. This allows weight transfer when the swing is longer due to the shot being of further distance. The length of the swing depends on the distance from the green. The speed of the swing should remain consistent throughout. This shot usually requires a longer stroke, but shorter than a full swing with some wrist involvement and weight transfer.
A chip shot is a low lofted shot that lands hard on the green and has lots of roll to it. The clubs that should be used for this shot are a 5 iron, 6 iron, or 7 iron. This shot requires the hands to be lower on the grip with hands ahead of the ball. The stance should be narrow and slightly open with the weight on the target foot. The length of the swing depends on the distance from the green and how far you need the ball to roll once it hits the green. The speed of the swing should remain consistent throughout. This shot usually requires a shorter pendular stroke with the lower body stationary allowing the upper target side of the body leading throughout.
With this knowledge, try practicing both shots from different distances and using the different clubs to see what will work for you. Practicing these shots should allow for some sort of comfort when you need to execute such shots on the golf course. Good luck and keep on swinging.
Jamie Olson is a member of the LPGA and is currently the First Assistant Golf Professional and a Teaching Professional at Leisure World Country Club in Mesa, Ariz., a private, 36-hole retirement community. Jamie is also a Teaching Professional for the LPGA Girls Golf Club. In her spare time she participates in many charity tournaments. Jamie teaches all ages, individual or group lessons.