Over the past few weeks I have concentrated on the art of pitching.
We have looked at firstly measuring your performance.
Knowing how your game measures up before any change, and hopeful improvement is important.
Having some tangible results after all the hard work you’ll be putting in is important.
There is one other point on pitching. What club are you using?
As a junior, many years ago, if an iron shot missed the green, I’d reach straight for my trusty Ram, Beryllium Copper Tom Watson sand wedge. It was a worn out war horse. Poor at generating spin, due to the grooves being so worn, but it was copper and looked cool.
And I didn’t know any better at that age.
I was also pretty naïve given that I had that club out before I even saw how the ball was lying, what exact situation I was faced with and what was required of the shot.
If I reached the ball and pictured the shot I was trying to hit, I would then try to hit that trajectory with the sand wedge.
There’s something to be said for that in terms of creativity and improving skill level, but it wasn’t the best or easiest choice to make most of the time.
Recently, I took the students in my weekly Friday Seniors’ class out to the short game area.
We hit shots of 45 yards. I laid out the widest rope 6ft in diameter round the hole (pictured). Each player had to hit five pitch shots with a wedge of their choice (it could be PW, gap wedge, SW or LW).
I asked groups of three players to share an area and hit alternate shots, to break up their rhythm more similar to a golf course.
I then asked them to repeat the exercise with a nine iron, a club they would not normally have entertained using. After seeing the results, they will consider it far more often.
The shots as a group finished in the circle three times as often and those which missed, were closer to the hole too. It pays to experiment a little. As creatures of habit, humans tend to stick to what they know, wary of what might happen if something changes.
Move out of your comfort zone and try something different in a bounce game.