Game Control Strategy for Better Putting, Chipping, and Pitching
By Rob Krieger
Many players struggle from putting to chipping to hitting pitch shots out to a desired distance. Over the years, I have found success by not only working on better mechanics, but also helping students understand why they and so many others struggle in the first place. For many, their strategy is flawed, and no matter how good the mechanics or execution of the shots they cannot duplicate the same distances on the range that they need to perform on the course.
Many amateurs battle for consistency over these shots because they don’t realize the distance a ball travels is attributed to three factors:
- Acceleration (A) – The tempo, pace, power, or muscle used on a golf shot will change how far the ball goes. Think of hitting a baseball to the pitcher, the infielder, the outfielder, or hitting a homerun. The softest hit is to the pitcher and maximum power is used for a homerun.
- Body Position (B) of the arms and length of swing of the club – How far back you take a club adds or subtracts momentum to a swing even without adding or reducing any additional (A) muscle or power on the ball; therefore, the ball will go shorter or longer.
- Club (C) – Changing to a club that has either more or less loft (it will also be shorter or longer), changes how far the ball should go.
Rob’s “Positions Golf Method” is:
(A) Acceleration + (B) Body Position + (C) Club = (D) Distance©
Players may not know how to change these three factors, or realize which ones they are changing so their shots are not consistent.
Here is a strategy to try to become better close to the green and on the green, as well. Whether you are putting, chipping, or hitting a pitch shot, try to maintain the same (A) tempo, pace and power, BUT only change either the (C) club or (B) the length of the swing. The (A) amount of muscle you use needs to be the same. Usually, this is the softest and easiest swing possible, like hitting the baseball to the pitcher. Often, amateurs can’t distinguish between (B) length of swing and (A) how much power; they see them as the same. They are not.
Putting – Try taking (B) a bigger stroke for a longer putt and a shorter stroke for a short putt, maintaining (A) the same rhythm for both. Like a pendulum, it is the same (B) length of stroke and (A) pace back, and the same (B) length of stroke and (A) pace through the ball otherwise known as a 1:1 ratio. Many players take the same (B) distance of stroke for every putt but vary (A) how hard to hit the ball, either softer for short putts or harder for longer putts. This is the opposite of what is being described.
Chipping – Same as putting, meaning maintaining the same (A) pace and rhythm, but vary the (B) for different distance of shot. Also, using a different (C) club may be useful depending on whether or not the ball needs to go higher and run less, or go lower and further. Clubhead stays (B) down below the knees on both the backswing and finish on a chip.
Pitch Shots – There are two basic pitch shots, short and long. On a short pitch shot, the (B) backswing length only goes to hip height or half backswing. For the long pitch shot, the (B) backswing length goes to three-quarters in length. Maintain your softest grip pressure and (A) slowest swing possible. Try taking the club back to the same (B) body position and maintaining the same (A) pace of swing, just change (C) club, e.g. switch to a nine iron and see if there is a difference. You may discover that the game becomes much easier and a lot more fun because you are now swinging the club and not trying to hit the ball.
Good Luck and as Always…Fairways & Greens