Hey, Performance Golfers, Matt Walter here at the Vanderbilt Legends Club. Today, I’m going to show you a little tip on how to use just your trail arm to hit a great pitch shot. And so, one of the key things that we’re talking about here is how to effectively use the wedge to hit soft pitch shots and utilize the bounce of the club.
So, in this video, we’re going to highlight how your back hand, your trail arm, so if you’re a righty, your right hand, works through the shot. So, one of the key things that I see too many players trying to do in pitching is, they’re trying to get a lot of shaft lean on their pitch shots because they’re still thinking full-swing mechanics, they’re still thinking full-swing strike in order to deliver a pitch shot to the green.
So, what we have to understand is, first, the way we interact with the golf ball is not the same on a pitch shot as it is a full swing. When we hit a full-swing shot, we’re trying to compress the ball against the face and use the core and club head speed to produce spin. When we hit pitch shots, it’s almost the opposite. We’re trying to provide a glancing blow so that the ball spins more off the face and we spin more of the outer core, or the cover, of the golf ball. So, what we’re trying to produce is a different way of maximizing spin on the golf ball so your pitch shots land soft and quickly. Now, to understand that, shaft lean, or hands well forward of the golf ball as far as a face-on view look, will produce a high compression, but with this shorter distance and slower club head speed, it will interfere with your ability to control distance and you will have a lower spin rate.
So, what this trail arm drill, or your right arm only, will allow you to do is learn how to release the club effectively around your body so that you can create a lot of spin on the golf ball for only a 30-yard pitch shot. And so, Tiger was actually doing this on the BMW Championship, hitting one-hand pitch shots. And what you’ll notice is that we don’t want the club to travel, what we would say, linearly, straight back and straight through to the flag. That’s not the natural arc of the swing. So, if you do this drill and your arm goes straight out and straight up towards the flagstick, you’re doing it wrong. What we have to get is a bend in our right arm so that the club can work around us. So, what we would feel is, our hand is hinging the club up, and our elbow would be folding the club up as we start our backswing, and then we want to feel the club exit around our body left, so you can almost see the club head out behind my back. If I follow up towards the target, I’m hiding the club from you, and you can’t see it now. So, if you had a down-line camera looking at it, it wouldn’t do you any good in the sense of hitting that shot, but at least you would know where you’re at. So, we want to see that club exit left.
And the last tidbit I want to give you is that this club face should be looking back at you when you finish. And we’ll explain that in another video, but what we want to see is the club face at the end of the swing. So, if we get up there and hit this right-hand-only pitch shot, this is what it should look like. Club face is still looking back at me, and even though I didn’t hit it quite perfect, it still worked out pretty well. That’s the whole purpose of this drill, is that you can not have to hit a perfect shot and still have good results. If we utilize the bounce of the club, the club will skip through the turf, kind of like mine did, bounce through the turf, and I don’t have to worry about catching it fat or thin. So, again, I’ll let that right arm fold because we don’t want to see that right arm straighten out. We want to see a lot of angles. And then, from there, I want to straighten out as I go around. So, we’re not straightening in the backswing. We’re folding in the backswing, releasing through the shot, and around our body. And as long as we keep doing that, you’ll start to learn how the club should interact with the turf. Initially, this drill will be very hard for some of you because maybe you’re not right-handed, as a right-handed golfer, and you’re a lefty. That’s going to be a challenge, for sure. Or, two, this is a foreign drill that you’ve never really had to work on, and you might not be strong enough in your trail arm alone to swing the golf club. So, it’s a good way to build up some strength in your hands and your arms to swing the golf club, because when you get into heavy rough where it’s thick and long and shaggy, it’s much more difficult to execute than it is off a fairway lie. And so, now, let’s say you’ve hit 10 or 15 right-hand-only shots with your trail hand. Put two hands on and let that right hand work through the shot for you. So, your left hand’s just along for the ride. He’s not trying to do much. Your right hand is doing all the work, and you’re just letting that left hand stabilize the club face to the finish line. So, with that, I’m going to leave you guys with that golden nugget.
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