Golf Pitching Accuracy

August 30th, 2018
VIDEO: Transcript

If you’re looking for more accuracy with your pitch shots with your single length irons, I’ve got three things that can hopefully help you pull those a little bit more accurately.

So, first is to watch the amount of clubface rotation in your pitching motion. So, normally, normally, the golf instruction world will have you set up with a clubface square like this or perpendicular to what you want to be swinging, and in the backswing, the clubface is opened up like this, and then you take it back as far as you need to, and then on the way down, you roll the clubface back to square, and as you come through impact and into the follow through, you continue to roll it over so that the toe is up on this side. The problem, one issue with that is although a lot of pros do do that and you can hit good pitch shots, when I put this little tool on the clubface here and when you do that kind of motion – maybe it’s a little bit easier to see from this side – the clubface points all over the place. So, there’s only a split second there where the clubface is going to be pointing maybe where you want it to go, so what I would say instead is to use the motion that’s going to keep the clubface, in particular, down through the hitting area a little bit more squarely and have a more square-faced club face-to-path relationships, so don’t be opening and don’t be ruling it. So, what that might look like when you’re swinging this way is it’s going to be a little bit more like this. When the club is back like this, the bottom of the clubface may be kind of parallel to your spine angle. It’s going to be pointing back to the impact there, and then when you come through, it’s going to be looking kind of like that. So, as you can see, that kind of motion versus a rolling kind of motion helps get the – I think what it does is it helps – you’re not going to hit your shots, your pitch shots, exactly perfect every time, but I think what it’ll do, what it did for me, and what it’s done for a lot of other people that I’ve worked with, is it brings their dispersion in from something like this to like this because it’s – one of my old teachers used to get that rolling kind of motion playing Russian Roulette with your golf swing, so it’s like, you got one thing in the chamber and yeah, most of the time – one ball in the chamber and most of the time or some of the time, it’s going to be okay, but then there’s going to be that wall that just sheets off and it kills you, basically. So, I guess, the gist there is to play with a more square clubface. That’s the first thing I would say to help improve your accuracy with your pitching.

The next thing, and there shouldn’t be an issue with your sterling iron single length irons because when you get them off the website, we fit for this, and then if you’re working with a club fitter, they should also be fitting for this, is the lie angle, and the lie angle is this angle between the shaft and hosel down to the bottom of the clubface here, and why that’s important, I think it’s one of the most important fitting elements, fitting specifications with irons is because if the club comes through squarely like that, the clubface will point where you want it to go. If the lie angle is a little bit upright, it may look square to you when you’re looking down on it, but an upright lie angle can have the clubface actually be pointing left and where the clubface points at impact is primarily where the ball is going to be starting out. So, if you’re coming through square but you’re a little bit upright, you could certainly cause some lefts for a right-hander, and then on the flipside, if your club’s a little bit flat, the clubface can be pointing out to the right. So then, you kind of got to adjust for that a little bit, manipulate it, you can do it. Generally, I wouldn’t recommend it though. I think ideally and what pros do is they just use their normal pitching motion, and then they don’t have to try and manipulate it. The clubs are fit to them. So, again, I guess with your sterling irons, the lie angle shouldn’t be an issue but one way to check is to get a ball like this, and then this ball already has a line on it as you can see there, but what you want to do is maybe take a dry eraser marker, not a permanent marker, and draw a line on the clubface over that, or just draw some kind of line on it, and then line it up and hit a ball with it, and line it up like that, so that when you come in and you strike the ball, it’s going to leave an imprint on the clubface here, and if the lie angle is okay, then that mark will be straight up and down like this, and if the clubface is a little bit too upright, the line may point a little bit more towards the toe like that, or if the lie angle is a little bit flat, then it might point more inward like this versus like having it straight. So, what we did with the sterling irons custom club fitting – of course, Tom Wishon is a major club fitting guy in the industry, I’m a huge fan of custom club fitting as well, so when we built these clubs, when we designed these clubs, we wanted to make sure that we could bend the lie angles to fit people. So, we designed these with enough type of steel that is soft enough that you could take it to a club fitter and they’re literally bend as needed, so that when you do this little marker test, you can get your lie angles coming through with a straight line like that. So, that’s an important thing because then you don’t have to fight the club or manipulate the club; you can just swing freely and do it naturally, and then the club is just going to work for you versus like, you have to try to make the club work for you, so that’s a good thing to do if you’re looking for more accuracy.

And then, the third thing I would say with improving your accuracy or pitching is to get some of this Dr. Scholl’s OdorX Foot Powder Spray – it doesn’t have to be Dr. Scholl’s; it can be some other brand, or it could be some chalk powder – kids’ chalk powder spray, and you want to spray a little bit on the clubface, and don’t worry, that wipes off pretty easily with a towel, and just start hitting some pitch shots, and it’ll leave imprints over the clubface of where you’re hitting. Now, good pitchers will tend to have really tight strike patterns around the sweet spot or maybe a little bit low on the clubface. Being a little bit lower on the clubface, although it’s not in the sweet spot, it actually has a little bit more spin. That’s for another topic, but from an accuracy standpoint which we’re talking about in this video here, due to horizontal gear effect, if you hit striking it one ball, you could swing the exact same speed, make the exact same move at it, but if you strike the ball out on the toe here like this, then that could cause the ball to go more leftward for a right-hander or if you strike more towards the heel, it could make the ball go more rightward for a right-hander, so wherever – so if you’re striking all over the face, that will play, wreak havoc on your accuracy, so if you’re looking for your accuracy, get some of this foot powder spray, and then just hit a bucket of pitches and just work on improving the consistency of your strike, and you don’t necessarily have to overthink, overthink too technically about your swing, just the act of raising awareness of where you’re striking too, and the focusing on trying to improve your dispersion is often enough to fix technical type things, and what you can do as a little drill is to practice hitting in the three spots on the face. So, try and hit one out on the toe, try and hit one more towards the center, try to hit one more towards the heel, and you can really control where you’re hitting with a little bit of practice, then it’s going to be pretty for your brain and body to know what you need to do to hit it in the center, and then also, an interesting thing about practicing like that is, when you’re bringing awareness to where you’re striking on the face, you’ll kind of learn, when you hit a certain shot, you’re like, oh, I hit that one on the show, then you look down and like, sure enough, it’s on the toe, and then you hit another one and it comes off a certain way, it feels a certain way, and you’re like, oh, I hit that one on the heel. So, it kind of trains you also to know where you’re hitting on the clubface, and then if you have the skill being able to move your strike around and you are maybe on the course and you don’t have this foot powder spray that you can be using driving around, just by how it felt and how it came off, and how it looked, you can be like, okay, I probably struck that one a little bit on this part of the clubface. This next one, I’m just going to move it to here on this part of the clubface because you’ve developed that skill and you know how to do that.

So, those are the three things, those are three things that I would tell you to help with the accuracy of your pitch-out, so again, just to review, watch the clubface rotation, especially down through the hitting area, the clubface doesn’t need to be exactly square all the way through, but I find that in particular, down through the hitting area like that, it really helps people improve their dispersion, bringing it from something like this to something like this, so that’s going to help your accuracy. Checking the lie angle again, making sure that your clubs aren’t too upright or too flat. Your sterling iron single length irons should be okay, but you can use that ball with a marker and draw on a line on it, and you do that little test to check and see if your lie angle’s okay. They should be, but if they’re not, then you can just take them to a club fitter. It’s something that custom club fitters, it’s a service that they usually pretty commonly offer, and it could be that maybe a couple of your wedges are okay and then one of them is a little bit off just from over time, getting them banged around in the clubs and leaning on it too much or something like that, so you can just check your different clubs that you use for pitching for that and checking your lie angle, and then lastly, again, just to use some foot powder sprays and chalk powder spray to practice your contact, try and [0:12:16] for parts of the clubface, build the skill, build awareness of where your hitting on the clubface, build the skill of being able to move your strike around, so that you can be striking it consistently where you want to on the clubface, and when you’re striking it consistently on the same – on the clubface from a horizontal standpoint, you’re going to be moving some horizontal gear effect and that’s going to help your accuracy as well.

So, put those things into play, practice those things, work on those things, and hopefully, after a little bit of work on it, you’ll find that the accuracy of your pitch shots has improved quite a bit.