"Andy, The magazine looks great - you've done a good job. Concise and to the point... Regards, Mel"

Mel Sole has 30 years experience teaching golf and is co-founder of Ritson-Sole Golf Schools, USA



Golf Tip

For Pitching try the 7 - 8 - 9 Method

by Mel Sole

Most of the amateurs I play with hit the ball well from tee to green, but when they get within 50 yds. of the green they seem to struggle. "I don't have time to practice these shots", they tell me. "The pros have all the time in the world to stand and work on these shots, so they develop "feel"."

Here is a method that requires a little practice initially, but once you have established your distances you will be able to rely on it in the future.

The Technique.

Imagine as you address the ball that you have a large clock in front of you. Learn to swing your left arm (right arm for left handers) to the various "hours" of the clock. This is the 7-o'clock position:

Notice there is a slight wrist cock. This is important as you need to cock the wrist to help deliver a slightly downward blow through the shot. Practice hitting shots like this until you can consistently hit shots a certain distance. This will become your 7-o'clock shot.

This is the 8-o'clock position:

Practice hitting shots swinging your left arm to 8-o'clock and note your distances. This will become your 8-o'clock shot.

This is the 9-o'clock position:

Practice the same as the first two shots, while swinging your arm to 9-o'clock.

Finish off swinging the arm to 10-o'clock and you will now have four specific distances that you can consistently pitch the ball.

Distances will vary from player to player as in full shots, but once you have them established you have a tried and true method to rely on. When you find yourself 40 yds. from the flag on the course you can say to yourself, "OK, this is my X-o'clock shot." and you know for sure that if you swing your arm to that position, the ball is going to go about 40yds.

Important Points for the Pitch Shot

Three things are very important in the pitch shot.

1. Notice that at address the majority of my weight is on my front foot. This is important to help you not only keep your body steady during the swing, but to help you impart the downward blow that is important in creating the backspin you want on this shot. You will also notice looking at the other positions during the backswing that my weight does not shift to the back foot at any time. I keep my weight on the front foot even at the top of my backswing. (This is only for the pitch shot - not for full shots.)

2. It is important that the pace of the swing be consistent throughout. It is no good swinging slowly through one shot and quickly through the next. You'll get very inconsistent results. Try to imagine a pendulum and the way it moves backward and forward at the same pace. Try to fell this in all of your pitch shots.

3. Lastly, as you see here:

it is important to follow through. Do not stop your follow through on this shot or you will constantly come up short. The follow through should finish at about 3 o'clock.

And finally as in picture #6 make sure that the follow through is directly at the target and not around your body.  The hands should finish in about the middle of your chest.

With just a little practice to establish your distances and pace, you will find playing these shots a lot more fun. You'll also get a lot of comments from your playing partners like "Where did you learn to pitch all of a sudden?"


Mel Sole is a former South African Tour player with about 30 years of teaching experience. He is the co-founder of Ritson-Sole Golf Schools, which is rated one of the 25 best golf schools in the U.S. Mel's home course is Pawleys Plantation in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Other Ritson-Sole Golf Schools are located in Wilmington, N.C., Atlanta, Blue Springs, Mo., Harrisburg, Pa., and San Sebastián de Amola, México. You can visit the Ritson-Sole Website at www.ritson-sole.com.



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