Top 7 Golf Pitching Drills
Perfecting your pitching golf skill can have a significant impact on your golf game. It will greatly boost your confidence knowing that even when you hit a wayward drive and fail to hit the green in two, you can still save par with good pitching!
Pitching is one of the main short game shots often confused with chipping. Before we dive into the top pitching drills, let’s differentiate the two to ensure we’re on the same page.
What is a Pitch Shot in Golf? How is it Different from a Chip Shot?
A pitch shot is a more extended version of a chip shot. A pitch is usually a higher shot that travels a great distance in the air rather than on the ground.
Let’s assume you’re 30 yards away from the green. You’ll make a pitch shot that takes the ball 30 yards through the air, and then it rolls a few yards after landing.
On the other hand, a chip is a low shot you make when you’re closer to the green. The ball only travels a little while in the air and rolls out most of the way to the hole.
As a good rule of thumb, keep in mind that a pitch shot flies farther than it rolls, and a chip shot rolls farther than it flies.
Golf Practice Plans to Follow
- All Access – Every Training Program & Worksheet Library Access
- How to Break 90, 80, 70 Training Plans
- Golf Fitness Training Program
Top Golf Pitching Drills
1. Pitch Shot Set Up Drill
A good pitch shot setup replaces the elements that help you generate power and replaces them with features that give you more feel and control.
- You can practice increasing control and reducing power on a sliding scale by adjusting your setup.
- First, reduce your stance width, then grip further down on your club and reduce the length of your swing.
- Practice making shorter pitch shots by taking a narrow stance here feet and hips point left of the target and place more weight on the front side.
2. Upper Body Pitch Drill
All good pitchers control the momentum of their action through a turning motion of their upper body and shoulders. The upper body drill mainly involves working on your left shoulder (for right-handed golfers). It gives you an upper body control sensation for consistent pitching action.
- Put yourself in a good setup with feet close together, left toe slightly turned out and weight favoring your left side.
- Take the right hand off the grip and place it on your left shoulder while the other hand holds on to the club grip. You will instantly get a heightened sense of control on your left side.
- Make a simple swing while focusing on controlling the motion by turning the left shoulder. You want to feel your right hand pulling down with the left shoulder.
- Without any manipulation, the left arm and the body move in unison. You will feel the upper body pace the return journey with the left arm and right hand following the momentum and left wrist uncocking naturally.
- Regularly repeating this drill transforms your feeling for a proper pitching action. You get an accurate understanding of the upper body’s controlling role.
3. Clock Face Pitch Drill
The clock face drill helps you govern the pace and rhythm of your swing while fine-tuning distance control in your pitching. It involves matching body rotation with your arm-length swing.
- Grab your club and swing back halfway to the 9 o’clock position in a compact and short backswing.
- You should let your wrists hinge naturally without forcing it. Check that the clubhead points to the sky.
- Accelerate through the ball and halt your follow-through at the 3 o’clock position or higher for more power and distance.
- Ensure that the clubhead is pointing skyward again, meaning it has made a full rotation.
- Repeating this drill enables you to know how far you can land the ball and master a controlled half swing that is perfect for the pitching arena.
Resource: How to Break 90, 80, 70 Training Plans
4. Hit Down Pitch Drill
Focusing on hitting the ball down into the ground instead of a scooping action improves the consistency and accuracy of your pitch shots. It also helps avoid thin and fat pitch shots.
- Place yourself in a good setup and move to keep your weight forward when hitting the pitch shot.
- Ensure that more weight is on the left side for right-handed golfers as you address the ball and follow through.
- Trust the loft of your club and keep your right hand on top of the ball through impact. This is a different sensation from scooping the ball into the air.
- It might feel like you’re hitting the ball too low during impact, but it will roll up on the face of the club to generate a lot of height and backspin.
5. Alignment Stick Pitch Drill
The alignment stick drill helps you acquire an excellent upper body technique to hit consistent pitch shots. It ensures your lower body is not overactive, which is a common pitching mistake.
- Acquire a good stance in front of the ball. Take the alignment stick and place it through two or three loops on your belt. Ensure the stick is parallel to the ground.
- Take a regular pitch shot while ensuring you don’t hit the stick at any point during the shot.
- When done correctly, you will get the feeling that the shoulders are doing most of the work while the club remains at the front of your body at all times.
- Practicing this drill gives you a good shoulder turn as you move the club while preventing your legs and lower body from moving.
6. Extended Shaft Pitch Drill
Achieving a perfect hit down on the ball in pitch shots requires your wrists to remain fairly straight on impact. This drill can help ensure your wrists don’t bend or flip.
- Take an alignment stick and insert or attach it to the butt of your club grip. You want to ensure it acts like an extended shaft that goes past your front side at the address.
- Hit some pitch shots in this setup and see how you perform. The goal is to ensure you can make shots without any interference from the protruding stick.
- You will notice that the stick bumps into your hip or sides if your wrists bend or break down at impact. This lets you know how to adjust to maintain solid wrists.
Also Read: Best Chipping Drills
7. Ball Contact/Scoop Pitch Drill
Like the extended shaft and hit down drill, the contact drill helps ensure you don’t flip or bend your wrists in a scooping motion when pitching.
- Take an alignment or tour stick and place it horizontally around two inches behind the ball.
- Place yourself in an excellent golfing stance with the stick barely touching your right foot at the address.
- Make a swing at the ball in a descending motion. The goal is to make clean contact with the ball to ensure the club’s loft lifts the ball into the air.
- You’ll notice that if you make a shallow swing through a flipping or scooping motion, the first contact will be with the stick instead of the ball.
- This drill helps identify any fault in your pitching swing. It enables you to adjust to a downward motion that is perfect for pitching.