Updated: Jan 22, 2019
It is essential to understand the difference between chipping and pitching and when to play which, as we have taught over and over again to all our students. Whichever you choose, you must have good clean, 'crisp' contact and control of your distance.
If you make good contact with the ball, it allows the grooves on the face to work with the dimples on the ball to create friction and spin and then you will be able to control what happens when the ball hits the green. To ensure that you are doing so, follow these suggestions:
It’s critical that you establish the low point of your swing arc in front of the ball with your setup. Have 60-80% of your weight on your target side foot and keep your hands accelerating through the shot to create a downward blow with your wedge.
1. Head should be directly above your belt buckle. 2. Your shoulders relatively level and your arms soft. 3. Take a weaker hold with your trail hand if you have a naturally strong grip. 4. Take a narrow stance with your back foot square and your lead foot flared out toward the target. A line drawn across your forearms should point left of the target and match your toe line. 5. Bend over until you feel like a laser been shooting out from the middle of your sternum would light the ground just in front of the ball. If your sternum is in front of the golf ball at set-up, then the club will 'bottom out' after you hit the ball, hence creating a downward blow.
Everyone seems to be told to move the ball back in your stance for the chip and forward for the pitch. While there is some truth to this for the better player, why confuse yourself if you are a beginner and create inconsistency? Play the ball in the middle of your stance with a flared left foot with weight shifted left, simplify. Too much tinkering if you are shooting in the 90's is not likely to help, more likely to harm!
You must know your carry distance for each wedge off of 4 basic benchmarks, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full backswing. Course conditions not only differ from course to course, but even throughout a round, so carry is what we focus on. Work on specific distances. We train 30, 50, 70, 90 yards with specific drills to recreate game like conditions. You will more often be between distances, so the acceleration factor now comes in to adjust your carry. Unlike a full swing, where we use the Kinematic sequence, with pitching and chipping your body parts move more in sync and at the same rate of rotation. The faster you sync your rotation the further the ball will travel.
These are the two main elements of good wedge play. When you are trying to move from the 90's to the 80's, it is highly recommended that you have a set of wedges that work for you as another article here explained. Please do not overlook the benefit of being fit for your wedges, after all the wedges are the scoring clubs.