The short game is 65% of the golf game and too often overlooked. Pitching is a higher trajectory shot that can range from 20-100 yards. These shots must be practiced to help you save that par. When you don’t take a full swing, it makes it very hard to judge distance, power, and outcome. So it is vital to practice full swing, three-quarter swing, half swing, and quarter swings.

Once you know the distance of each shot, you can take it to the course and not have to think about how big or small a swing to take.

Practicing with your wedges

Step 1:
Pick a high lofted club like a Sand wedge, Lob wedge, or Gap wedge.
Step 2:
Ball position middle and stance should be hip-width apart, with your front foot pulled back a hair (open).
Step 3:
Keep left arm straight through the swing, and try to finish with the clubface pointing to the sky.
Step 4:
Use your lower body rotation to help, and make sure you brush grass.
Step 5:
Be confident in the stroke you make, and keep your smooth tempo throughout!

Avoid these common pitching mistakes

  1. Falling back – We don’t want to end the swing with weight on our back foot, we should get our weight to finish 70-90% on lead foot.
  2. “Flippy” wrists – We don’t want to over-activate the wrists, they should stay locked in the position that they are in after you hinge, and not flip at the ball
  3. Left elbow breaking down – If your left arm breaks down as you hit the ball you will get a lot of thin, low rolling shots, so make sure left arm is extended at impact
  4. No follow through – You have to complete your swing, and get to a good follow through, if you stop on the follow through your trajectory will be lower, and you will most likely miss hit it.

Jamie Engelkemier womens golf common pitching mistakes
Jamie Engelkemier

At age 12, Jamie Engelkemier was already playing golf with her dad and sister. She continued to play through middle school and high school, before competing on the University of Northern Colorado’s Division 1 women’s golf team. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor in Coaching, Jamie wanted to continue to grow her golf knowledge and skills.

Jamie attended the Golf Academy of America, where she obtained an Associate of Applied Business and received the prestigious President’s Award.

LPGA Teaching and Course ProfessionalsJamie is a US Kids Certified coach and a Class-A LPGA instructor at The Ranch at Laguna Beach and is currently working on furthering her career to one day achieve her dream job as a head coach for a top ten Division 1 women’s golf team.

Follow Jamie Engelkemier online on Facebook.

Feature Photo: Alex Marina pitching 2017 CME Group Tour Championship. Photo Ben Harpring for WomensGolf.com