Hinge and Pivot: the right, and wrong, way to firm up your pitching
Many players struggle with their pitching and chipping because they flip their wrists through impact, which allows the clubhead to pass the hands and often leads to fat or bladed shots. Naturally, they think the solution to this loose, scoopy action is to tighten their grip and firm up their wrists. In fact, that usually leads to a loss of feel and worse shots.
Here’s the feel and motion you want to practice: Maintain a relaxed grip and allow your wrists to hinge slightly as you swing back. If your grip is too tight, you can’t hinge your wrists. The firmness you’re seeking in the mini swing is not with your grip pressure but in how the lead arm stays in line with the shaft of the club through impact (left).
Poor chippers also restrict their pivot (below). The sternum should rotate to the left as you pivot around the left knee through impact. It’s the hinge on the backswing and pivot coming through that generates the speed you need–not the flip of the wrists.
Rick Smith, voted No. 4 by his peers in Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s 50 Greatest Teachers, is based at the Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Mich., and Tiburon in Naples, Fla. He works with Phil Mickelson, Lee Janzen and Jerry Kelly. For more tips from Smith, please visit golfdigest.com/smith.
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