April heralds the opening of the main golf season for most, be they rank amateurs or the top professionals opening the major championship season at the Masters. The host course, Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia is known for its treacherous, complicated green complexes, where missed greens often require a unique mix of creativity and precision from the player.
Great pitch shots around the greens start with textbook fundamentals, and acclaimed Myrtle Beach area golf teacher and former South African Tour player Mel Sole can help!
Sole notes that a large number of students fail to hit crisp, reliable pitch shots because they scoop—or needlessly flip their hands in an effort to add loft to the shot—around impact. “The problem,” Sole says, “stems from the fact that because the ball needs to go high we try to help the club do the job by allowing our right hand (for right handed golfers) to flip under the left.”
This amount of “play” in the wrists is nearly impossible to replicate time and time again, which means that for every super-high, soft-landing shot you hit this way, you are likely to chunk three others and blade three more.
In order to train yourself not to flip your hands on pitch shots, Sole recommends the following: “Take your sand wedge or lob wedge and practice hitting shots about 50 yards, rotating your right hand over your left through impact… The secret, however, is in making sure that the clubhead stays on line to the target.”
For added consistency of practice and, ultimately, accuracy when you get on the course, Sole recommends that you push a stick or shaft into the ground along your toe-line and avoid grazing the object with your hands as you follow through.
“Once you have the feeling of releasing the hands through the ball,” says Sole, “go back and work on your full swing. Release the hands through impact keeping the clubhead going down the line, and your sand wedge and lob wedge shots will still travel high, but now will have significantly more distance.”
In this way, not only does this serve as an effective drill for hitting consistent pitch shots, it will also help our full swing.
Stay tuned for more monthly golf tips from the archives and decades of experience of Mel Sole. He is based out of Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club and Grande Dunes Resort Club.
To book golf at either of these and dozens of other Myrtle Beach area golf courses, rely on myrtlebeachgolf.com for all your planning needs.