If you would love to feel more confident and relaxed with your short shots around the green, then this article is for you!
Sometimes it is the simplest of pitch shots just a few yards off the edge of the green that can cause us the most problems.
You know full well you only have to be a little bit out with your strike, resulting in a fat or thin shot and the result can be embarrassing.
I’m going to share with you a particular focus that I really believe can transform many of your inconsistencies around the green. It’s a different approach, and it will challenge your focus and trust in your own ability, but the results really can be quite amazing.
You will already know when you are nervous over these shots, tension will creep in. What then happens is the tension causes some of your body parts to lock up, which then leads to another area of your movement to overwork and do too much.
From my experience, the most common area where golfers lock up is in their lower half.
Now you may immediately be thinking: “But when I pitch badly, my legs overwork because I feel them collapsing at impact and that leads to my poor strikes.”
But … I am going to challenge that and say it is more likely that your lower half didn’t work properly on the way back that led to this collapse/overwork on the way down.
So, the focus of this lesson is on how to use your lower half properly and, more specifically, your mid-section, but we are going to do it in a very unique and specific way.
How you use your mid-section is critical to balance out the rest of your movement. How you move this mid-section has a huge influence on the movement of everything above and below, so get this right and the timing of your pitching action will improve tenfold!
I’m going to ask you to close your eyes and set up to the ball (or tee peg) with your eyes shut (image 1).
Now start taking some practice swings with your focus solely on your belt.
I want you to let your focus initiate the movement of your belt, so it feels like this area of your body leads the way, not only on the way back but also coming down.
Make your belt area the hub of the movement that triggers everything else to move in response.
With your eyes closed, I really want you to ‘feel’ the movement. Don’t think – FEEL! That’s the benefit of closing your eyes; you should be able to quiet down your thinking brain and access how your movement feels.
It’s important to keep your eyes closed throughout the whole movement. On the way down to impact, keep your focus on the belt leading so this area of your body brings everything through to the finish. It’s easy to slip into letting your hands and arms take over and try to hit the ball, but again this is where having your eyes shut can help keep your focus on leading from the mid-section.
IMPORTANT: Gently close your eyes, don’t screw them up – you want your face relaxed!
Depending on how you feel, you might just want to do this exercise with practice swings or maybe to a tee peg, and eventually progress to actually playing shots with your eyes closed.
Once you master this focus and movement, you will start to feel a more balanced movement, where it will feel like your top half and lower half are more stacked up on top of each other and working together, and this will result in your hands and arms feeling more relaxed.
It really doesn’t matter whether you ever progress to actually playing shots with your eyes closed, so just go slow and steady and commit to the focus and feeling of your mid-section leading.
I hope you enjoy becoming more confident with your pitch shots around the green.
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Scott Cranfield is a PGA Master Coach. For over 30 years, he has dedicated his life to helping golfers achieve their goals through a natural approach that embraces the true laws of how the human mind and body work. Scott’s unique approach has led to the creation of multiple training programmes, and the experience of coaching every standard of golfer from complete beginners through to Ryder Cup players. As well as enjoying a long TV career with Sky Sports and Setanta TV, in 2011 Scott was honoured with the award of PGA Master Professional & Coach.