How To Pitch The Ball


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Author Description

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

66 Responses to “How To Pitch The Ball”

  1. June 19, 2012



    On shorter pitch shots, say 10-30 yards, every now and then I’m catching the hosel. Would that be because I let my upper body slide towards the target on the downswing.

    It doesn’t happen on longer pitches when the club hinges up.

  2. August 12, 2012



    in this video you mentioned you will explain the shorter pitch shots in the future. Any thoughts about the time you are going to publish them?

    Best regards, Thomas

  3. August 26, 2012


    This is a brilliant tip I’ve played twice now using this technique. It feels good looks good and is a real confidence booster. My only minor problem is I’m pushing it slightly to the left ( I’m a left-handed player ) which I’m sure is just practise to correct. My other concern the distance is pretty much set with my sand and to make it go further I use my wedge. No arms and body turn only not sure how to vary the distance??

    • Paul Wilson

      August 26, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      Paul, it is a great technique. This is not me saying this. This is every pro I have shown it to. You speed up by turning your body at different speeds. This is all in my pitching video. If you are pushing it you need to loose the wrists to allow the face to square. Just roll them over a few times early in practice swings then think about the body when hitting your shots. This should loosen them up.

  4. September 15, 2012


    Paul, your tips are amazingly simple to follow. It didn’t take but a couple of tries to get really nice pitch shots and chipping. Could you also do a tip on how to put backspin on the ball? Your methods really make it easier for beginners to learn how to hit effectively. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    • Paul Wilson

      September 17, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      George, Thank you very much. Here is what I usually say about backspin:

      To get backspin there are many factors. Here they are:

      1. Correct swing fundamentals.

      2. Angle of attack

      3. Clean grooves.

      4. No grass or other material between the ball and grooves.

      5. Soft fast greens.

      6. Green sloped towards you.

      7. Proper loft on club.

      8. Fast enough swing speed.

      etc. etc.

      So keep working on the proper fundamentals and have the right equipment and conditions and you will get backspin.

  5. Paul, I really do like how simple your teaching is, my scores keep improving using your techniques. I was wondering how to pitch the ball to different distances. Keep up the great work and the great tips. Maybe I can make to your school next year!

    • Paul Wilson

      October 8, 2012

      Paul Wilson

      George, I have not shot these tips yet. I will get to it at some point. This is all information in my short game series. Basically, you are hinging your wrists different backswing lengths then turning your belt buckle different rotational speeds. Here is one pitching tip:

      How to Pitch:

  6. October 17, 2012


    May I ask a basic question from a high handicapper.

    How would you explain the difference between a Pitch and a Chip?

    Thank you.

  7. October 23, 2012


    HI Paul,

    When pitching and using short irons, I was previously told by my instructor to have my hands in front of ball to give a forward shaft lean on club, do you advocate using this for short irons/pitching using your teaching methods?


  8. January 4, 2013


    I am starting to hook my pitches. I suspected it is too much body or hip movement but I am not really sure. Please advise!

    • Paul Wilson

      January 4, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      If you are hooking pitches without trying to hook them your grip is too strong. You need to immediately neutralize your grip. This will take the spin off the ball then you can see if there is a direction problem. If so, you need to work on your body rotation to get the ball on target.



      Also, check to see that your ball is not too far back in your stance and you are not re-gripping the club changing it to a strong position before you take the club back. It is highly unusual to hook a pitch shot so there is something severely wrong. Start checking your grip/setup and fundamentals.

      • January 5, 2013


        Ok Paul I just found out I was not choked up enough. I about mid way into the grip now and the ball is going straight. Thanks again!

  9. January 24, 2013


    Paul went to the range today and at end of the session I always do some pitches.well I was flipping at it and was hitting line drives(I did review the tip after)I wasn’t halfway dwn the grip was this causing the flaw or was it the Turn or lack of? Also your Pitching Technique isn’t it the same as your bunker tech minus tge grip and digging in the sand??

    • Paul Wilson

      January 25, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      No idea. I would think you were hitting normal shots then you gripped down and were not used to it. So you were either looking up due to trying to hit the ball, lack of confidence or uncomfortable. If you are hitting it thin the club is coming off the ground. This could be from raising up or buckling arms. Just relax the arms, turn the body to hit the shot and keep watching the ball until you hit it.

      The pitching technique is the same as the bunker technique except in bunkers you are not gripping down so the club will enter the sand. If you grip down the club will be at the level of the sand.

  10. March 15, 2013


    Can you please do the short, 10/20/30 yard pitch shot video. Then follow it with the 70 yard plus pitch shots. My short game could sure use the help.
    Thanks, Rich

  11. March 22, 2013


    what is the importance of gripping down on this typ e of shot?

    • Paul Wilson

      March 24, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      You are gripping down on any shot that is less than a full swing so you shorten the club. This tells you that it is more of a delicate shot, it allows you to use the butt of the club as an indicator to point at the ground or target, and it shortens the club so you don’t hit the ball too far.

  12. April 24, 2013


    Paul could I use this technique for my full swing sounds easy?

    • Paul Wilson

      April 24, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      It’s okay for now. I just don’t like the early wrist set but if you are having trouble hinging the club to the top then do it. Also, you need to go through to the full follow through touching the legs and touching the head. Oh yeah and make sure you are coiling your shoulders fully in the backswing.


      DRILL: Touch Legs Touch Head:

  13. April 30, 2013


    Hi Paul For the 90 degree and 45 degree backswing pitch , how weight distributed at address eg more on front for some. For these pitchs are we not so concerned about 1 piece take away Y intacted as we are just hinging the club to the 90,45 positions

  14. Paul I been using powerless arms with my swing working so far with
    driver thru wedge with full swings but when is a pitch of 50yds or less it feels like I’m going to hit the hosel I actually hit the hosel a couple of times
    any drills or thoughts you could give me, is when I thinking turn the belt buckle thanks****

    • Carlos,

      Check your setup. A lot of people like to get too low. Stand up tall even with short irons. This is new so you are not used to it. You are hinging you are turning. Let the wrists stay loose and turn over when you hit these shots. Sometimes people tighten up, want to watch their ball before they have hit it and try to help the shot.

      The only way you are shanking it is if you are getting too close to the ball. This is due to hitting. It causes you to roll onto your toes in the downswing. So as I said, loose up. Focus on turning. This turn allows the arms to come down to hit the ball. If all else fails hit these shots with the weight on your heels for a while. This will stop you from rolling forward. The problem is you are still hitting. So keep practicing.

  15. August 17, 2013


    Hi Paul, enjoying the tips. I am only just starting to use my body and turn arms off. Arms almost feel like s pendulum in free mode. Anyway a couple of queries re pitching.

    1. Setup the same as far as weight moving to right foot on short backswing?, than move back to left foot (others suggest pre load on front foot)
    2. Do we consciously hinge for earlywrist set or is it automatic as the body stops on short swing and inertia causes the hinge just like the full swing.

    Forcing the hinge seems to be my downfall as I start hitting again.


    • Paul Wilson

      August 18, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      1. Yes, shift weight to right foot. I really want you thinking of the hinge though. This should be happening without you thinking about it. The weight would be on your left foot hitting knock down shots.

      2. For pitching I need you to manually hinge the club. This way you can hit he same backswing lengths for each of the shots. In your real swing they should be hinging through momentum. Just gently hinge it. Remember, you don’t hit it going back. Set it then start the lower body the other way to hit it.

  16. August 18, 2013


    Paul, Lately I’ve been hitting every third pitch shot dead right. I don’t think it’s a shank, more like an open club face. I think it’s because I’m getting too armsy and not turning. Does this sound right? It’s so bad right now I took my 60 degree wedge out of the bag.

    • Paul Wilson

      August 18, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      Obviously the face is open. If you do not turn the club will just swing right. I though you were to be HINGING and TURNING to do my pitching method? If you don’t turn there is no way this will work. So HINGE then turn your belt buckle left of target to hit the shot. If you still don’t get it just roll the wrists over early about 5 times. The forget the wrists and focus on the turn. You should be able to fix this pretty quickly.

  17. Hi Paul,

    Have you made a 80-100 yard shot video yet? I’m very interested to learn, as the 9 hole course I play in Golden Gate Park of San Francisco has a couple downhill 100 yard holes.

    • Paul Wilson

      September 5, 2013

      Paul Wilson


      I have not shot this yet. This is the same as this tip:

      How to Pitch:

      Just do a longer swing and turn at slow, medium or fast rotational speeds to vary the distance of the shot. Basically it is your normal swing except you are thinking about hinging and turning.

  18. Paul,

    I was just watching the short game series to brush up on some techniques, and you said we should think about turning our belt buckle instead of pushing off of our back foot as we would in our full swing. I feel I make better contact when I think of pushing off of my back foot just like I do in my full swing. Is this a bad thought? I can hit three different distances with each length of backswing as long as I think about how fast I need to turn. Also how high should say your medium pitch shots be? My medium shots are fairly high and have very little roll. I do not feel like I am using my arms, as you have stated in other tips that a high ball flight is an indication of hitting with your arms. Thanks for all the great tips that you give us.

    • Paul Wilson

      March 11, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      Typically, short shots don’t require a big leg drive. The legs turn the axis (your body). If the legs aren’t driving hard then you need to manually turn your body. If you can do it with your feet and it is working then keep doing it.

      How high should a medium pitch shot should be? Fairly high. You are putting enough power in it to hit it a medium distance. If the proper contact is made the club will be hitting it with quite a bit of loft. In doing so, the ball will stop quite quickly. This is the whole point of hitting a shot like this. You want it to go high so it does not roll much.

  19. March 22, 2014

    Rick g.

    I went out to try your pitching technique and I was having a lot of problems hitting it consistently. I don’t think I ever hit so many fat pitch shots. It seemed as if because of the slower turning and not developing any centrifugal force that when I turned my arms off the club head would drop too quickly behind the ball. Even on half decent shots the club wasn’t going into and through the ball. And no I wasn’t trying to help it into the air that is something I don’t ever try to do.

    • Paul Wilson

      March 23, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      This is because you had all your weight on your back foot when you hit these fat pitch shots. Get off the back heel and you will hit these shots perfectly. Try again. Then tell me how great you did.

  20. Hi Paul,

    Using your pitching technique, with the shorter (butt of the club towards the target) pitches, I feel very confident and hit good shots. However, with the longer (butt towards the ground), I shank a lot of them. I feel as though I’m following your technique correctly, simply saying to myself hinge, and turn. Until I stop shanking the longer pitches, should I more consciously be thinking of releasing the club, since for whatever reason just thinking “turn” is not squaring the clubface for me? Any other thoughts?

    Thank you,

    • Paul Wilson

      March 30, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      If you are shanking the weight is on your toes in the downswing. This is due to you hitting with your arms. I would think you need to have your chest up too. Most people start bending over too much with these shorter clubs.

      Also, if you need to release it then release it. Get good at it then turn the arms off. I have no problem with this.

  21. Paul I so love this tip and you say it so well. I just had a Girl Scout group all 2nd & 3 rd graders first I me even holding a club so this is the shot I taught as I knew it would equal a high % of successful shots and happy young ladies. And I was right they could all make successful contact and some improved greatly before the hour was over. I so want to come to one of your clinics! I retired now so I have time ….$$$$ is the issue . Someday I will be there! For now I will stay faithful and continue to use your tips to support my instruction… I will do anything to get a kid golfing! Thank you “fore” all of the tips!

    • Deborah,

      Glad they did well. That team must be pretty good if not the best by now. I hope so.

      I’m sure one day you will make it out. Love to meet you.

  22. When I pitch ,or Play the short or m

    • Raymond,

      This is the setup for a knock down shot which is fine.

      You won’t hit it fat with my method if you just get the hips rotating before the club comes down. As you know, fat shots are caused due too having too much weight on the back foot at impact.

      Well, I don’t care what Pelz said. My pitching technique is amazing! Every pro I have taught it to says this.

      Tour players are guessing. In order to do so, they need to spend hours practicing these shots. I don’t like wasting time.

  23. Hi Paul,

    I’m loving the website great tips, it’s already improving the consistency of my swing and shots and I’ve only been subscribing for a couple of weeks. I’m extremely happy. I think I will probably purchase your video courses too soon.

    I was wondering if you could help on one thing. I’m having trouble with my club reaching round to parallel the target line at the top of the backswing, my wrists don’t seem to hinge that far and if I really try I can’t hold onto the club at the top. The only way I can manage it is if I rotate the hands so it appears a much flatter plane.

    Any help would be much appreciated. I’m also trying to keep my left arm straight so maybe this isn’t helping either.

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Kind Regards

    Jose Kishtoo

  24. Hi Paul,
    it’s nice to get tips on such an important aspect of the game like pitching. One thing I still have trouble with is the release of the wrists during the D/S when I hit wedges, especially the 3/4 or less. At some times, I noticed that I had a good finish position (touching legs, touching head), the divot shows the club path was in line but the ball flies to the right at something between 1 and 2 O’Clock. The bias is of course aggravated with the high lofted wedges. At first I thought it was due to a non-mastered rotation speed, so I tried to hit these shots at the slowest possible pace, but it doesn’t make any difference.
    So, I guess this has something to do with my wrists, I must subconciously “lock” them in a hinged position, hence hitting with an extremely open face. Is it something you experienced with your on-field students and is there any specific drill I could work on to get rid of it?


    • Pierre,

      Just roll it over a bunch of times first. Even purposely hit some pulls/pull hooks. This gets the club releasing. Then stop thinking about rolling it and go back to think about your TURN.

      This will apply:

      Please Learn How to Hook It:

      DRILL: 3 Ways To Roll It Over:

      I would think you are getting the body too far ahead of the arms. This holds the face open. Rolling it will get the club squaring sooner. Then you can straighten it back out with the body turn.

  25. Hey Paul,

    Your pitch shot works I also it to practice touching my knee as a drill using this shot. However with the addition of trying to get the clubs up over and behind my head from another practic drill you recently sent, I cannot find a way to touch my knees? The higher swing plane and set position at the top blocks the knee from touching every time. Can you suggest a fix for this?

    Best Jay Jay Gerald

    • Jay Jay,

      Why would a higher backswing top you from touching your legs? The only thing I can thing of is you are thinking so much about your arms you are not thinking about your legs.

      This is a way to work on your backswing. If this the case you should be working on the backswing thinking of this. Then you couple it with the through swing. Meaning once you get it you then forget it. It took me 2 weeks to master this. I did it in practice swings a home every night. Don’t reach up too high. Slightly above your head with the shaft should be fine.

  26. Hey Paul,

    Yep my mind was on reaching up and behind my head so no lower body and leg touch resulted. Will try to trust that the clubs are getting in position and think turn & touch and finish. Will it ever get consistent?

    Br the way I was not billed for April so have accounting charge my account for two months in May.

    Best Jay Jay

    • Jay Jay,

      You need to start knocking these positions one at a time until they are mastered. If you focused only on the touching the legs position it shouldn’t even take that long to get them touching on every swing for ever. The feedback I teach is for this very purpose. If you are not getting this you are not doing and checking it every time and/or you are working on too many things at and not mastering one thing.

      If you are in doubt you should be doing a video golf lesson. Yes, it does cost money but it’s a small price to pay for confirmation you are on track. If no, the know the positions. Focus on grip set up and follow through until you do them exactly the same every time with all clubs. Only when you get this do you work on the backswing. You need to look for this feedback “every time.” So focus on it like this and master it.

  27. This shot has completely eliminated the anxiety of coming up 20 to 50 yards short of the green. If you just practice following his step by step. It’s a pleasant surprise how well this shot works with a sand wedge. It works just as well for me with a 60 degree from 20 to 30 yards out. Love it

    • Robert,

      Very good. I’m so glad you tried my pitching technique and were successful. I see people’s faces light up all the time at the schools when they finally stop flubbing and sculling these shots. No better feeling than knowing what you want to do then doing it.

  28. Paul,

    Thanks for this simple technique which is easy to apply. However, I sometimes feel as if I was cutting under the ball adding a huge amount of loft resulting in very short shots.

    Any clue of what I am doing wrong?


  29. HaroldBaldock

    August 25, 2014


    Hi Paul,

    Could you please help with pitching on a downslope? In particular to a very fast down sloping green.

    To date your pitching tips have helped me greatly however I struggle with the above.

    Many thanks for all your help to date.


    • Paul Wilson

      August 25, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      I don’t have tips on this right now. I plan to shoot some in the future.

      I would open the face and aim left. This would add loft to the club to make up for the slope de-lofting it. I would play the ball back a little and swing left if aimed left. The ball will go right due to the open face. HINGE/TURN like I show in this video.

      How to Pitch:

  30. September 6, 2014


    Paul, I’m having difficulty with 50-90 yard pitch shots. I seem to be “confused” as to what technique to use for these short shots that are longer than the 40 yard pitch shot. I usually use a sand wedge or gap wedge for these 70-90 yard shots, but I’m not sure what technique to use. That is, should I use the pitching technique or the full swing? A tip on this would be very helpful.


    • Paul Wilson

      September 7, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      You need to learn my pitching technique. It works amazingly well and it is simple.


      How to Pitch:

      You would do 3 backswing lengths and 3 rotational speeds of your body to dial every shot in. I do not have every shot broken down yet but you can find all of my pitching tips using the red navigation bar at the top of any page. Go to SWING TIPS > PITCHING to watch them.

  31. February 6, 2015


    Another great video. How exactly can I get credit (extend my membership) for getting friends to join your site? I saw something on this previously, but can’t find it now.

  32. February 11, 2015


    Paul…Just found your site. My big problem is the short game and your tips are great. I can see some of my problems in the tips. Here is my question…I play in Florida on courses that are not overseeded in the winter. So many chips and pitches from hard bare lies. Does any of your advice change on these kinds of lies?

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