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Jimbohaw
Ross,

What are some of your thoughts that help you determine when to chip vs. when to pitch? There are some situations where I can't decide whether to just use my shoulders and chip, or go ahead and rotate through with a pitch. Also, is there a particular club you recommend using for novices. I tend to use my sand wedge the most?

Jim
Ross
This is easy Jim... Pitch (hands down).  The pitch shot is a mini version of our full swing.  It relies on large muscles and is definitely more reliable that a chip shot (when done correctly).  The main reason the chip shot is not reliable is because, there is a moment when the arms pass the body center/core, and they can only go as far as the front shoulder can pull up.  This limits how far you can use it and many times turns into a flip.

One more thing.  One of the best ways to learn to pitch awesome, is to practice tossing, underhand, a golf ball at the edge of the green, to a spot that you visualize, that accommodates the break and roll afterwards.  The goal is to stop the ball at the hole.  Then... during your real round... after practicing this... you can swing you arm a bit underhand, imagining you're tossing the ball on to the green and see it land (in your imagination), then see it roll, take the break and stop at the hole.  This is very powerful!!  Then, take your shot...follow your routine and copy what you imagined... next thing you know... ball right by the hole... or in it!!

Ross

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Jimbohaw
You make it sound so easy. :-) Now, if I could learn to read the greens.
Ross
Well... I'll bet you, that if you start tossing golf balls like I mentioned, you will get better at the whole process.  Picking the line, the landing spot, and imagining what will happen after it lands.  When you really get good, you'll imagine the impact angle and speed, that will produce the result you want.  Like a High Drop shot, with no roll, or a low rolling shot... then you adjust your SW club face (sorry, forgot to answer which club to use in last post), to produce the loft you need.  This turns into a lot of game with practice.  FYI... I went 6 rounds in a row, with at least 1 hole out pitch shot, and 2 of the rounds had 2 hole outs.  My partners loved me, but my competitors hated me.  Maybe it was because I taught a short game school for 15 years... hummm... practice makes you lucky I guess...

Ross

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Jimbohaw
So...I made my first hole out yesterday from off the green about 35 yds. I was on an uphill slope and I pinched it the way you teach with a sand wedge. It had a nice high loft, bounced once, hit the pin and dropped in the hole for a birdie. Ok, I'm hooked. So much fun! Thanks for making being a major part of the joy I am having golfing.
Ross
Wow! You listened, practiced and applied... stayed in the "Moment"... followed  your routine and had an awesome result.  It is really the difference in... "I know what to do...stay with my routine"  vs. "I hope I get on the green".  The routine is the vehicle to take it to the course and apply your changes.

It does not matter if you think you "can" or you "can't"... you're right (you have a choice about how you think... we can control that too [wink]).


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Richard
Ross, and anbody else out there, when I'm greenside with an unputtable lie I use your chip method....but I don't feel my arms pass as you mentioned above. I keep my elbows tight and turn thru the shot using my shoulders/core. I have no wrist action and the club face points to the sky on a short follow through. This with a narrow, open stance...knees slightly flexed...or bent. I had early problems skulling and shanking the ball but fixed that by setting up with the club hovering behind and above the ball similar to a bunker set up. In execution I "go down and thru the ball"......especially so in rough, but also with longer fringe grass. With very tight fairway grass I'll use the putter even a goodly ways off the green. I line the shot up same as a putt, get the ball on the ground as soon as possible and let it roll out. Club depends on pin distance....may be a 54 degree....may be an eight iron. Have spent much time on the practise green with this...only 1 hole out this year, but very consistant up and down 1 putt greens. Green side....pars are now out numbering bogies, its a beautiful thing.
Ross

What I'm seeing is you're actually using my "pitch" method since you turn.  You are turning using the core vs. just the shoulders... I define that as "pitch". 

I have mentioned (over the years), that I prefer the "pitch" shot over a "chip" shot since it does use the core through impact vs. just the "shoulders" trying to get the job done... and when the "shoulders" are the only thing moving the arms/club past impact, the follow through is very "limited" and can easily cause a flip or miss hit if you try to chip too far. 

PLUS... if we "pitch" most of the time (or all), we keep all shots (except putting), having the same Large Muscles connection through impact... or, all shots are "full" or "mini" versions of the same move*... this makes it easier for consistency.



* All shots rotate completely to the finish... even very short pitch shots.  We just modify the amount of backswing and speed of rotation for different results.  We NEVER reduce or shorten the body's rotation to the finish... this commitment to the finish, is what makes this method very repeatable.


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Richard
Ross, got it.....you're right. I do use your PITCH method to "chip". Never thought of it that way....greenside shot was always a "chip shot". Anyway, I love your style and so does my scorecard. As my hands and arms stay out of the swing my game has improved leaps and bounds.....I keep waiting for the wheels to come off as has occurred in the past with "traditional golf instruction", but now believe its the real deal and here to stay. The old methods ended up being what Johnny Miller called wood tips; works only one day.

Thanks for the help.
Ross
Thanks Lucky!  Yes, I've heard Johnny say that and you're right.  Once learned, if it does go south, there are so few moving parts, it's pretty easy to get right back on track.  This can happen during the round... "oops ball went right (right hander)... I'll bet I opened the face on the backswing... I'll keep it square this time."

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Jimbohaw
I went to the practice green and tossed some balls underhanded to get a feel for how the ball broke, etc. Then I pitched a bunch of shots from all sorts of distances. I even pitch some shots from the fringe, close to the hole. I never believed I could have such soft touch pitching so close. I WILL NEVER CHIP AGAIN! In fact I will probably pitch more often than putt from the fringe. I could not believe how much control I had. I practice opening the face and closing the face. (I really liked the closed face shot.) No skulling or flipping; just push down, pause and turn through. The speed of my rotation determined the distance and it seemed the ball rolled to where I ended up facing - the pin! Every shot seemed to land soft and roll out close to the hole. I even holed out a couple. That kind of practice is as fun as playing a round. I can't thank you enough, Ross, for the great instruction.
Ross
Yay... another convert.  WTG !  These stories are what keep me going.  Just let the Big Muscles do the work and keep the hands out.  With one of my students we like to use the term "shape"... which is after the shaft is in line with the front arm, elbows close, wrists fixed... then he like to think... "just drag that shape around to the left" using the body rotation.... the arms/club are a "template".  Nothing breaks down and your get the exact results you expect.

Ross

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louman
Is the shoulder rotation of the chip different than full swing or pitch?  You mention in you chipping video 'push down - pull up'. Is that more up and down versus the full swing where you said to be more rotational shoulder turn.  Thanks.
Ross
Yes.  the chip shot, the shoulders work like our putting stroke.  The front shoulder pushes down, then pulls up.  That keeps the chip shot straight back and straight through.  Now, the pitch shot and all other shots, the shoulders turn around the spine.

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cguyaok
Pitch shots worked like a dream today as did the putting motion-I left at least 10 chips and putts on the edge of the hole when I wasn't one putting which I did on four greens!


Patrick

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