Symptom: Poor pitch shots from 80 yards and in, characterized by duffing, chunking, shanking and cursing. "How can I hit it close from 150 yards but can't put it on the green from 40 yards?" you ask yourself while shaking your head in disbelief.
Description: Limit your backswing on pitch shots, forcing you accelerate through impact to a high finish -- higher than your backswing.
Why it works: To swing the club with a high finish and hit the pitch shot the proper distance, you must accelerate through the golf ball. The need to accelerate your golf swing through the golf ball will naturally limit the extent of your backswing, put lag into your downswing so you hit the ball before you hit the ground, and give you a high finish. This visualization will prevent the "big backswing and decelerate" fault (remember, you don't hit the ball on the backswing) that plagues so many golfers' pitch shots.
Let's have Luke Donald demonstrate this for us. Luke is hitting this pitch shot about 40 yards in the air. Note that Donald's backswing goes only until his left arm is parallel to the ground (0:17), but his finish is high (0:27), with his club pointing to the sky and his belt buckle facing the target. Let's Look at Luke:
As an added bonus, watch the gentleman in the background hitting a chip shot to the same green (I can't tell who it is). For this shorter shot (about ten yards in the air), he keeps his hands ahead of the ball through impact, which means he will not have a high finish. So you see a demonstration of Luke Donald's (longer) pitch shot and a (shorter) chip shot in the same video clip!
More generally, accelerating (not decelerating) through the ball on every shot is one of the most fundamental requirements for playing good golf, and is the basis of the no backswing golf swing drill. A high finish is a good sign that you are indeed accelerating through the ball.
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