After my round of golf last week two large takeaways of areas of improvement were my pitching and my drives. This week I began cruising YouTube to see what I could find on tips to improve my game, particularly in these areas. In fact, I know so little about pitching that when I asked my husband to come out and film me pitching he asked me if I was practicing pitching, or chipping. I didn’t even know there was a difference! I have since learned that chipping has a lower trajectory so that the ball rolls out on the green, whereas pitching has a higher trajectory with less roll out. So once we got THAT sorted out, it was time for some practice.
Here is a quick glimpse at my unedited pitching swing. Here I do a full back swing extension (this is for a shot about 60 yards from the green), and as you can tell there is a whole lot of wrist action taking place. This is important to note as I will describe further.
This is where my “faking it as a golfer” has gotten me thus far. I made good clean contact with the grass, as I’d hope to during an actual round of golf. So this unfairly convinces me I’m doing everything well. Of course, the smallest error or gap in swinging technique can make a drastic difference in the trajectory of the ball. So, I obviously had to do some adjusting! Here I found a YouTube channel called Meandmygolf. Here we see golf pros Andy Proudman and Piers Ward instructing in a video called “5 Golf Tips to Break 80”, which is hilarious because I’m looking for “All the Golf Tips to Break 100”, so that I can get away from my current practice of “Zero Golf Tips, Break Windows”. Around the 10 minute mark you can see Andy working on his pitching technique. Here he emphasizes the importance of reducing the over used wrist motion by increasing the angle created between the wrists and the club.
You can see the emphasis on the angle being obtuse, as opposed to acute. This shows that there is more control in the rest of the body working together, and less room for error in over engaged wrists. In the first video you can see that the angle created at the top of my swing (between my arms and the club) was less than 90 degrees. Here are a couple of my attempts in clearing up this mistake.
Here you’ll see a larger angle, even from the first correction to the second. This is created by an increase in rotation of the abdomen and a decrease in activity in the wrists. You’ll also notice I use a shorter back swing. This is another aspect I am working to improve as I know I have to let the club do more of the work. A pitching wedge is already angled enough to put the ball where I want it to go, I don’t need to overcompensate for that. I am very excited to try this out at the driving range this week!
The next area of focus I wanted to work on, was addressing my stance while teeing off. I had mentioned in my last golf post that I couldn’t believe how wide my stance was while driving the ball. Here is a replicated stance and swing of what I would commonly do during a round of golf.
Here you can see my stance is quite a bit wider than my shoulders (I used to always hear “hip width apart” and know I’ve got wide hips so always just went with a wide stance I guess!). You’ll also notice I don’t lift my head up after my swing like I usually do, it can be tricky not to develop bad habits when you’re not practicing with an actual ball! In my adjusted swing I aim to close the gap between my feet.
With this adjustment you can see I have a narrower stance, only slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. One really remarkable thing I noticed is that, because I narrowed my stance, my right knee didn’t bend in as much as it did in my original swing. This shows I have a more controlled rotation and am staying more central to increase consistency in my swing!
A friend also recommended I check out a few other YouTube channels including Mark Crossfield so while I wait until this weekend’s visit onto the driving range, I’ll likely spend some time browsing his, and other’s recommendations! Hopefully my next outing turns out pitch perfect!