Deceleration is a major killer of short game shots. Faced with a short pitch to the green, we’ve all seen someone try to “help” the ball up with a miracle move at impact and others “chop” at the ball rather than swinging through the shot smoothly.

The simple act of decelerating at impact is not only a poor technique for controlling distance. It can also hurt the accuracy (direction) of your wedge shots.

When you accelerate, your club head through impact, your swing remains much more stable (and produces more consistent results) than when you decelerate. This applies to all swings, but especially short pitches and chips, where deceleration can mean fluffed shots and extra strokes.

Understand, I’m not suggesting try to speed up a lot at impact or “hit” with your hands to create acceleration. These efforts will ruin your rhythm and produce bad shots.

To understand how this acceleration works in pitch shots, let’s go over the basic of this shot. First of all, play this shot with the ball in the center of your stance and start the swing moving your shoulders, arms, hands and club in a synchronized rhythm away from the target. Your arms move with the rest of your body (neither initiating the backswing motion or adding any “unnecessary” power to the swing).

Begin your wrist cock as soon as you start your takeaway; accomplishing the full wrist cock gradually until you reach the end of your backswing. During your through-swing, keep everything synchronized as you swing through the ball. The smooth, subtle acceleration will help keep your swing stable through the shot. Your body rotation and short-to-long swing will also help keep you stable, promoting a repeatable and efficient pitching motion.

To achieve the kind of smooth acceleration needed for good consistency around the greens, follow this simple principle: Imagine producing maximum club head speed (and maximum extension) two feet past the ball’s address position. This will give you a backswing that is shorter than your follow-through, and automatically produce smooth acceleration through impact.

Now, consider a totally different shot to the same flagstick position. To produce a high-lofted “Cut Lob” shot that will fly to the hole and stop, use a three-quarter backswing and a full finish (with an open stance and clubface). For any open-face shot like this, it’s absolutely essential for the clubhead to accelerate through impact. A shorter backswing and longer follow-through will guarantee that happens.

Try this and reach out to me at askpelz@pelzgolf.com to let me know how it works for you.

By Dave Pelz

 

 

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