Pitching the ball is when we are around the green and require the ball to fly higher in the air and stop more quickly. This is helpful for when we need to hit over something, such as a bunker or slope, or if the ball is sitting in heavier rough or taller grass.
A pitch shot is typically played with a more lofted wedge such as a sand wedge or lob wedge. Making crisp clean contact, as well as controlling distance are typically the leading challenges when pitching the ball.
Choke down on the shaft a little bit, and set the club down behind the ball squarely, I suggest opening the club face only in extreme circumstances. Set your body parallel to the target line with your feet relatively close together. Position the ball in the middle or perhaps just a little back in your stance. Hold the club very softly, and maintain very passive hands throughout the entire motion. We do not want to add any power with our hands and arms in these kinds of shots.
As we make our backswing, think of your entire body rotating together. Your sternum and your belt buckle should effectively move together, limiting the amount of coil, or body twisting in your backswing. We want to avoid this when hitting pitch shots because we don’t want or need that extra power. Take the club back only as far as you need depending on the length of shot that you are playing. Swing in a comfortable, smooth rhythm, again remaining very passive in your arms and hands. Turn your body together through the ball, finishing facing the target, with minimal lateral motion. With minimal excess motion, and soft arms and hands, the club should bottom out in the same place consistently, contributing to solid contact.
Everything remains the same for all length of pitch shots, except for the length of your backswing. Over time, you will learn to control your distance, particularly in situations when you may be feeling a little bit nervous. This is an extremely valuable shot to have in your bag.
In summary, a pitch shot is a lofted short shot intended to stop the ball relatively quickly when it lands. Your stance should be narrow with your club face and body lines square and parallel to the target respectively. Let the length of your swing be the only thing that changes from shot to shot. Take a longer backswing for longer shots, and a shorter backswing for shorter shots. Keep your shoulders, arms and hands very passive throughout the swing, as we don’t want to provide extra power in our attempt to control distance. The pitching motion should be simple, smooth, and without any abrupt acceleration or deceleration of the club at any point.