Golf Tips: Improve your game with pitch ?n chips

By: Shawn Kelly
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The chip and run or ?pitch shot? is one of the most important scoring shots in the bag. Since the swing is rather short, think of it as simply swinging the hands from pocket to pocket and just a tad farther for a longer pitch. It should feel like tossing a ball to a child. Your grip pressure should be soft and the swing rhythmic. You?ll want to choose the correctly lofted club for the shot and simply execute your normal routine. Do you have a favorite wedge that you use each and every time you play a shot within 25 yards of the green? If so, then you may be hindering your chances of running it up close for an easy putt. Depending on the shot at hand, choosing the most appropriately lofted club for the shot can help you get the ball closer to the hole. Here are some ideas intended to help you select that correctly lofted club. An understanding of your equipment will help you decide. A wedge will tend to stop the ball faster on the green while a seven iron will let the ball roll out, more like a putt after landing on the putting surface. Determining which club to choose will take some experimentation and practice. The first step is to determine what kind of shot you have and how much carry and how much roll you need to complete that shot. Stand behind the ball and, using your visualization skills, imagine the shot at hand and select the landing area for the shot. The ball should land on the putting surface if possible, but allow for a generous cushion. Next decide how much roll you need to get to the pin. Choosing the correct club is the next step. If you need to stop the ball within 10 feet or less, perhaps the wedge or sand wedge may be the club. However, if you have plenty of green to work with and distance to reach the hole, try using anywhere from a nine iron to a six iron and let it roll like a putt. Now that you have selected the proper club, you?ll need to get set up properly to contact the ball solidly. Prepare for the shot by setting up with a little more weight on your left foot than usual. This will encourage a swing downward through the ball rather than scooping it up into the air. Take a few practice swings beside the ball to determine three keys: the bottom of the swing arc, the length of the grass and the distance needed to carry the ball onto the green. Don?t feel rushed, because a few good practice swings only take a couple of seconds and a missed shot takes much longer to chase down. Get to know your chipping and pitching clubs well because these are your scoring clubs and I?ll be betting on you to get it up and down every time. May is PGA Free Lesson Month Throughout the month of May, PGA professionals nationwide are conducting free 10-minute lessons to help you improve your game, or get you started in the game of a lifetime. In support of this effort, call The Ridge any day at (530) 888.7888 to schedule your free 10-minute lesson.