Fit the Swing to the Shot
One of the trickiest parts of the short game is the matter of adjusting the distance of your pitch shots. Let’s say you face a 70-metre pitch on one hole and a 60-metre pitch on the next. How do you take those 10 metres off the shot?
Some instructors advocate varying the force of the swing. I’m dead against that. Except on special shots such as the lob and the punch, I’m a strong believer in keeping the pace and tempo of the swing absolutely consistent.Instead, I prefer to vary the length of the swing. Contrary to my method in the long game, where I play all full shots with the same length of swing, I shorten my backswing as the length of my pitch shot decreases. Furthermore, as I get closer to the green, I also grip down on the club, right down to the metal on pitches of only a few metres. This enables me to make a firm, aggressive, accelerating swing, which maintains a firm and confident attack on the ball.
Inside 30 metres or so, I simplify things even more by switching from a pitching wedge to a sand wedge while maintaining the same technique I use for longer pitches. If you carry a third wedge, you can take this system a step further. After all, why grip way, way down and make a tiny swing when there’s a club in your bag that will do the work for you?