Chips v Pitches - by Leadbetter

Top coach's latest Quick Tips book has all the short game answers

Golfmagic Staff
Tue, 30 Oct 2007

Chips v Pitches - by Leadbetter

Whatever the difference is between chipping and pitching, both are crucial to improving our golf game.

Though the definitions tend to get blurred - especially by TV commentators in the heat of the broadcast - it's widely recognised that the chip is a shot played from around the green that keeps the ball close to the ground while a pitch is usually from about 30-60 yards, played through the air.

Also, chipping is a stroke played with firm wrists with no wrist-cock - a putt with a lofted club. Pitching is a lofted shot, and tends to be played with a cocked left wrist - more carry, less roll.

Like many of us, I've had problems in recent weeks selecting between playing a chip or a pitch and at times of deepest uncertainty have opted, often unwisely, for bashing a long putt from yards off the green.

However, the arrival of David Leadbetter's Quick Tips book has helped me, not only understand the differences and definitions between chipping and pitching but also learn how to play them with more confidence.

CHIPPING

Says Leadbetter: "All great short game players have great imagination around the green. To become more creative in visualising your options and develop better judgement on shot selection, practise tossing ball underhand to the hole. Experiment with different speeds and trajectories from high and soft to low and running."

Key thoughts:

*At address, imagine a tiny car jack has raised your right heel. This helps lean more weight on to your left side.
*Position ball back in the stance to encourage hands ahead of the ball and with the heel of the club slightly raised, strike the ball with a descending blow.

*Poor chippers set up with too much weight on the right side and make a wristy, upward strike.

*Remember to turn the body through the shot, keeping arms relaxed and left wrist firm.

PITCHING

"Your body is the engine of the pitching swing, so turn the upper torso even on the shortest of swings, " says Leadbetter.

Key thoughts:

*The usual cause of poor distance control on pitches is over use of the hands and arms. Let the speed that you rotate your body control the distance of the shot.

* For a short swing of 20 yards swing at 20 mph, for a longer shot of 60 yards, swing at 60 mph.

*Imagine a rope from your chest extending through your hands and along the shaft. Keep the rope taut to maintain a constant width in your swing and to hit the ball crisply.

*Let the right hand mirror the clubface to keep it square and maintain the loft through impact.
Leadbetter's Quick tips (The very best short lessons to fix any part of your game) by top coach David Leadbetter is published by Aurum Press, priced £12.99.

Tell us on the forum: What part of your golf game are you currently struggling with? Or, with the main season almost up, is it frustratingly all coming together? Have you had a tip from a pal or pro that works for you and you'd like to share?

Want anymore short game tips? check out Nick Faldo's guides to Pitching and Chipping.

Originally published October 2007, updated May 2013.