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5 Practice Drills PGA Professionals Use Around The Green

You wouldn't believe how much time professionals spend practicing their short game. The average amateur spends 90% of their time on the range smashing balls, 5-7% putting and as little as 3% practicing their short game and they wonder why they aren't getting any better? The fact is, pitching is a very important aspect of the golf game for golfers of all levels and perhaps for the amateur golfer its more important that smashing driver and hitting long irons at the range.


It's interesting to see the difference in how much time a professionals spends practicing putting and short game when compared to the amateur. In truth, the amateur does completely the opposite as a professional when it comes to their practice time.

But here is the deal, everyone wants to play like the Pro's, but if you want to play like one then you need to practice like one.



Why Is Pitching So Important?


Simply put, for long hitters, a pitch shot is what gives them them a chance to get it close for a birdie putt. For short hitters they tend to hit short of the green on those long par 4's and par 5's, so pitching for them is extremely important if they want to save par.


I'm Sharing 5 Drills My PGA Professional Clients Use To Sharpen Their Short Game With You


So if your looking to knock some strokes off your game, then practicing with purpose with the same drills the Pro's are using makes pretty good sense, don't you think?


The 5 Pitching Drills To Sharpen Your Short Game

  1. Alignment stick technique drill

  2. Hit 5 balls to a pin from 40,50,60 and 70 yards

  3. Play 9 short par 3 holes out on the golf course

  4. Distance control cone drill

  5. Leapfrog drill


Alignment Stick Drill


Good technique is incredibly important if you want to hit consistently well struck pitch shots.


A common mistake I see that a lot of players make when hitting a pitch shot is they have an overactive lower body.


If you were to observe some of the best players in the world when they hit pitch shots you will notice that they use a good shoulder turn to move the club back and through impact.


An easy way to practice this feeling of a quiet lower body is to loop an alignment stick through the 3 front belt loops on your shorts or pants.


The goal is the avoid hitting the alignment stick at any point during the shot.


This drill will give you the feeling that your shoulders are doing most of the work, and that the club is out in front of your body at all times.


Practice Hitting 40,50,60 and 70 yard Shots


Distance control is one of the most important factors in pitching. Since a pitch shot isn’t a standard full swing shot it requires feel and practice to be able to hit every shot exactly how far you want to hit it. Having a launch monitor is a major advantage when practicing this shot because it will give you immediate feedback as to how fast your swinging the club, how steep your angle of attack is and the exact yardage you are hitting the ball. All this data makes it easier to bring to the course. However, if you don't have a launch monitor then simply shoot the pin with your range finder, or pace off the distance and record how many balls are landing and sticking in the 6 foot zone (radius) around the pin.


One of the best ways to practice both distance control and to simulate the reality of hitting a pitch shot out on the course is to do the following drill:


If there is enough space at the chipping green at the practice area drop 5 balls at 40, 50, 60, and 70 yards away from a hole, hit every shot with a full pre-shot routine and imagine that you are out playing on the course and you have to get it close!


By doing this drill your feel for distance will improve, and you will also improve at visualizing pitch shots out on the course.


You can mix up the distances every time you practice. Try different distances like dropping balls in increments of 10 yards apart and change the distance to start at 30 yards and work your way out.


Play 9 Short Par 3 Holes Out on The Golf Course


Next time you head out to the course for a quick 9 holes, why not change things up and simply play the holes from 50 yards to 100 yards in.


The goal is to play out the hole as if its a par 3 for the 9 holes and keep track of your success. If your feeling like your not getting your moneys worth, simply play the 9 holes as normal, but throw out a random second ball in the 50-100 yard range and play that ball as a par 3. Kind of like getting two rounds in for the price of one.


This drill simulates on course conditions, it allows you to practice your full routine, and it gives you a goal to work towards.


The key is to keep track of your score and try to improve on it every time that you get to do this out on the golf course.


Distance Control Cone Drill


This drill is perfect to use at the driving range.


Cones are great targets to hit at, but if you don’t have cones you can use anything to make a small target, even broken tee's or old divots will do.


Simply place the target in line starting at 30 yards and move them out at 10 yard spacing's.


If you have 4 different distance markers hit one ball at each starting at the shortest one, once you get to the longest one work your way back down to the shortest one again.


It is important to alternate the distances for every shot, this will help with creating a feel for each different distance.


The Leapfrog Drill


At this point anyone reading this blog should realize that distance control is a key component of pitching.


The leapfrog drill is a great drill to do when warming up for your round. Instead of just hitting golf balls aimlessly, this will specifically help you develop good feel when going to the first tee.


Here is how it works: Hit a ball about 30 feet out onto the range. With your next shot simply (not as simple as you think) try to land that ball on top of where the previous shot came to a stop.


Continue this process until you have worked yourself all the way up to a full shot.


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