Instruction – Stop the Top
As an instructor, I get this question all the time: “What is the difference between pitching and chipping?” A chip shot is going to stay lower to the ground, carrying less in the air and rolling more, where a pitch shot will carry in the air more and roll less. Now that we have determined the differences between the two let’s talk about pitching.
Picture this situation, you are on a par-5 and have forty yards to the hole with water in front of the green for your fourth shot. What do you do? You top the first shot leaving you thirty-five yards from the hole and thin your thirty-five-yard shot into the water. Now, your club goes flying across the fairway in frustration. I see this often on the lesson tee. I have demonstrated two drills explaining what causes the top and the thin shot the majority of the time.
These two misses could be a result of your arms separating through impact. It is vital your arms stay extended and connected throughout the entire pitch.
I have wrapped a resistance band around my wedge and placed the other end of the band under my left armpit. When my arms stay extended throughout the entire pitch, there will be resistance on the band. If my arms separate through the shot, there will be no resistance on the band, or the band will fly away from your armpit. It’s a surefire drill to be sure you’re maintaining that extension through the shot.
For drill two, I have placed a ball between my forearms. When my arms stay extended throughout the entire pitch the ball will still be between my forearms on my finish. If my arms separate throughout the shot, I will lose the ball.
Get in your golf posture and hold the medicine ball in front of you, from here toss the medicine ball forward keeping your arms extended throughout the entire throw. When you finish you should notice your arms are extended and elbows are not bent.
These are all great and simple drills to be sure you aren’t costing yourself strokes with poor efforts around the greens.