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Golf Tips: To pitch like a pro, control your angle of attack

Early in their playing days, most golfers learn to hit chip and pitch shots with their body center of pressure (not weight shift) favoring toward the target, their wrists locked and their shoulders rocking back and through. A lead-foot center of pressure helps create a downward angle of attack that allows a downward strike on the golf ball.

Unfortunately, the days of hitting chips and pitches in this manner are over. One of the most coveted shots for amateur golfers is the pitch shot that bounces once or twice after landing and then spins. It is a shot that plays well on fast greens and in situations where you may be short-sided with very little green between you and the hole.

With the help of 3-D radar technology like that used at Deerpath Golf Course, this shot is not a mystery. The secret to hitting a low, spinning wedge shot is controlling the angle of attack. The more shallow or less vertical you can make your angle of attack, the more spin you can impart on the golf ball. Many amateur golfers try to achieve a more vertical angle of attack thinking that it will put more spin on the golf ball. In reality, what happens is that the golf ball and club do not make direct contact and there is not enough friction created to put spin on the ball.

You can do two things to make it easier to shallow out your angle of attack and hit crisp, spinning chip shots. First, pay attention to the divot you create. With a shallow angle of attack, you should have very little turf interaction. Other than seeing a few blades of grass move, the ground should be almost undisturbed. Second, work on drawing the golf ball with an in-to-out path. You will have to create a shallower angle of attack to hit a 40-50-yard pitch shot solidly with a draw action.

The low, spinning wedge shot is a staple among the best players in the world. Mastering this shot will help take your short game to the next level.

Scott Hogan is a PGA-certified professional in teaching and coaching who operates out of Deerpath Golf Course in Lake Forest. He is also a coach for the USA National Team out of Long Grove. He has been teaching for more than 10 years and has been named one of the top 150 junior coaches in the country by U.S. Kids. Visit scotthogangolf.com to download a free copy of his report, ”The Journey to Understanding: The 5 Traits You Must Have to Develop Your Golf Game.”

Are you interested in blogging for a Pioneer Press site?  If you would like to get your blog published on the website email audrey@aggrego.com

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