Monday, May 04, 2015

#golf lesson 3 - #pitching and #bunker play with #anne-marieknight

Golf Lesson no. 3 with Anne-Marie Knight - 

Pitching and Bunker shots.

Today Anne-Marie set us up to hit pitching shots 12 metres, 24 metres and 36 metres. 

Short follow through, right knee facing forward at the end of the shot

The takeouts for me from the pitching lesson are:

  • Pitch distance is determined by the size of the swing and where your hands are on the club (the more you chunk down the shaft the shorter the carry)
  • For a short 12 metre pitch only take the club back a quarter of a swing or less
  • For a 24 metre shot, you probably can take the club back a half swing, etc.
  • Club choice varies on the person.  I favoured my lob wedge for both these shots. The lob wedge gets the ball higher and therefore it will sit, rather than run on.

For the shot itself:
  • Feet fairly close together, about 20cm apart, maybe a little open
  • The ball sits just before the right foot (for right handers)
  • Weight slightly on the left leg
  • Hands just in front of the ball
  • On the backswing, hinge the wrists
  • Follow through starting with the hips and legs (the right knee should be facing forward at the end of the shot.  Anne-Marie said a common mistake is not turning the body and accelerating through the swing)
  • End the shot with straight wrists (not cocked) and straight arms, with a short follow through the same distance front as in the back swing.

You are taking about 2 cm of sand under the ball. The club head shouldn't touch the ball.

Bunker shots

Having taken 12 shots to get out of a bunker when playing a stroke competition early in my golfing journey, I have high anxiety around bunkers.  Not only did I dig a crater, but I had a growing audience, as I was holding up the field behind me.  Whilst I have got better at bunker shots, I still feel uncertain and nervous when I land in one.  I'm hoping that after today's lesson I can leave that nervous nelly behind - in the bunker.

Take outs for me from Anne-Marie's tips are:

  • For most shots out of a bunker close to the green with plenty of sand, use a sand wedge
  • The more you open your stance, the shorter the ball will fly
  • Square up your stance if you want to get the ball higher and further
  • The sand wedge is made to hit under the sand, with the sand lifting the ball 
  • To get the sand wedge's angle (and flange) in the correct position for getting through the sand and under the ball you need to open the club face. Do this before gripping it.
  • The ball is in the middle of your stance, as are your hands
  • Weight slightly on the left leg
  • Soft hands
  • The rhythm of the swing is everything, nice and gentle
  • Full back swing and full follow through, hitting the sand about 2 cm behind the ball

Note re direction of the ball 

  • Because you have the club face opened slightly, the club head will be aiming slightly right, therefore you need to aim slightly left. 
  • If you do have your body open to the ball because you have a shorter distance to cover, your swing should be in line with your body (e.g. as in a normal swing), not in the direction you hope the ball will travel.
Now to put all this into action on the course! Easier said than done.

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