In an era in which pros such as Phil Mickelson are using 64-degree wedges to loft the ball around the greens, I’m advocating a lower-trajectory shot for most golfers: the pitch-and-run. Assuming you’ve got a fair amount of green to work with, it’s a lot easier to judge distance when you can get the ball to release and roll towards the hole instead of trying to fly it most of the way there. This is a must-have shot for your game, and here are the steps to execute it.
1. Mind The Gap
A lob wedge like Phil’s, or even a standard 56-degree sand wedge, offer too much loft for this shot. Go with your gap wedge or pitching wedge. They have plenty of loft to fly the ball on the green, but it will land with less backspin and roll more.
2. Shorten Up
Set up with your feet closer together than normal and your weight favouring your front foot. The ball should be played a hair back of centre. You don’t need to make a big swing, so grip down a little on the club for more control.
3. Land Ho!
Before swinging, take one last look at the green and stare down the exact spot where you think the ball should land to run to the hole. Remember, this is a lower- trajectory shot, so don’t underestimate the amount the ball will roll.
4. Draw It Up
Although it’s a shortish swing, feel like you’re trying to hit a draw. That means swinging the club slightly inside your target line going back and coming through – like you’re tracing an arc along the ground. This allows the club to clip the ball off the turf with less spin. It will chase to the hole. Now tap in.
– David Leadbetter operates 34 golf academies worldwide.