How to Hit A Pitching Wedge – Different Pitching Wedge Uses

You may have seen Tour players using their pitching wedges. Don’t their pitch shots, at least most of them, look so simple and elegant? The golf ball just launches high and then rolls gently toward that pin. So how to hit a pitching wedge just like that?

Hitting your pitch shots correctly requires you to follow a certain set of instructions, much like how to use alignment sticks or how to generate more backspin on the golf ball. The grip part, first and foremost, has to be aced with a pitching wedge. And so does the stance, backswing, and follow-through.

In that case, please keep reading to get all of these key points done right!

How to Use A Pitching Wedge for Beginners – Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Your Grip

Did you know that not gripping the pitching wedge in the correct manner is one of the most common and rookie mistakes among amateur golfers? So how about you make sure you’re not a part of that statistic!

Firstly, use both hands with all your fingers. Secondly, grip the pitching wedge with the left hand first (the thumb should be placed straight right on the handle). And then overlap the left hand with the right one.

At this point, the right hand’s thumb is placed in the opposite direction. This hand’s little or pinky finger is supposed to be correctly placed in between the middle and index fingers of the left hand.

You should also remember that gripping down a bit more than usual enhances that feeling of control with a pitching wedge. It also gets you slightly closer to the ball at address to boost precision.

2. Your Stance

The stance you adopt for pitching is supposed to be narrower in comparison to that of your normal full golf swing. Keep your weight slightly more on your front foot. So about 60-percent of your weight in the front foot from start to finish of your swing. Don’t make the mistake of transferring weight back and forward as you do with your other golf clubs.

Your goal here is to get the pitching wedge to come back down steeper, in some measure, for ensuring ball contact first and then turf contact (crisp impact indeed) that unlocks increased backspin control.

3. Your Backswing

Swinging flat-out is not the best or even necessary thing to do with the pitching wedge. Instead, for achieving both accuracy and distance control, imagine that your pitching wedge works like a pendulum. In that case, your backswing should be rhythmical – take it back and through by three-quarters only.

Try working on just more than one backswing length for hitting different distances. However, keep in mind that there are other golf clubs that make way for various distances more effortlessly. So how about you limit your options here to only two types of swing lengths – three-quarter and half shot.

In the case of three-quarter, your arms are swinging back in a horizontal position to the ground and even through with the same length. As for half shots, the golf club itself swings from one horizontal position to another horizontal point.

4. Keep Everything Well-Connected

Staying connected is more important than power when using a pitching wedge, no matter how tempting it is for your arms and hands to focus more on the latter. At this point, remind yourself that power will not work if your arms, shoulders, and torso aren’t connected and working in unison.

Even the slightest independent movement here (for example, overactive hands, premature shoulder turn, lifting the arms, etc.) has a huge negative impact on the movement of the golf club and, consequently, how the ball is hit.

So make sure that your arms, shoulders, and upper body are all linked in order to move everything back and forth together through that golf ball.

5. Improve How You Strike Your Pitching Wedge – Bonus Tip!

Don’t flick your shots with your hands, although this is a very common mistake golfers make when using the pitching wedge. But you have to avoid it for compressing the golf ball against the ground, so it zips up that clubface. Hence, you get added control and your pitching wedge angle/strike improves a great deal.

The drill to fix the problem consists of laying one tee peg onto the ground, just some inches behind that ball. And then aim only to slightly miss the tee peg with your golf club. This particular approach, where a bit more weight is on the left side, makes way for a marginally steeper backswing plus downswing. Thus, mission accomplished!

Pitching Wedge Use for Different Types of Shots

You can use a pitching wedge for various kinds of shots during your game of golf. Meaning this particular club is very flexible to hit both long-range and short-range shots.

Average golf club distances can only be achieved if you use the right club for the right shot. At the same time, proper execution/technique is key for great results.

So as far as your pitching wedge is concerned, you can take this one out for the following golf shots…

  • Pitch Shots

Within 100 yards from that flag, be it on the fairway, rough, or first cut – the perfect situation to use the pitching wedge. It gets the golf ball high enough and into soft greens. Now let’s find out how to hit a pitching wedge 100 yards from the flag.

Align your pitching wedge in the direction of your target line, keep the golf ball in the normal pitching wedge ball position, and go ahead with your same short-iron-like swing (since the pitching wedge used to be known as a 10-iron before). But these instructions are only for golfers who don’t struggle with ball contact and/or swing.

However, if you want to hit the shot with less power, keep your golf swing shorter.

And then there are those in need of a higher trajectory with a softer landing. In that case, open the clubface, grip the pitching wedge once again, and this time align left (for right-hand orientation) of that target. Some golfers, at such times, even use a lob or gap wedge for similar results.

Just don’t choose the sand wedge here (meaning for tight lies). The increased bounce will only make your shot more challenging.

  • Flop Shots

Hitting flop shots with your pitching wedge is alright but a lob wedge, because of its higher loft, is more suitable at such times.

But if still using the pitching wedge here, just ensure that the clubface is open wide, adjust alignment, re-grip, and simply accelerate down the golf ball.

  • Chip Shots

See, there’s no harm in experimenting with all kinds of loft angles that are a part of the set of irons, or with different wedges. The whole idea is to achieve that perfect trajectory for the shot. The general rule is that longer irons give you a lower trajectory with more rollout.

Now if using a pitching wedge to chip around the green, Phil Mickelson’s technique of Hinge and Hold works the best. The method involves breaking i.e. hinging the wrists during the backswing. You keep them hinged that way throughout your shot into the follow-through.

For holding the hinge and, at the same time, not allowing the golf club to get past the hands, you ought to accelerate through the ball. Otherwise, you end up releasing that club close to the ball with that leading edge lifting off the turf into the golf ball. Thus, blading your shot.

You can adopt this Hinge and Hold strategy with other irons too but don’t expect them to strike that perfect balance between rollout and trajectory, which is something that only the pitching wedge can do in the majority of off-the-green scenarios. So now you know how to chip with a pitching wedge.

The Wrap-Up

The pitching wedge, even though a must-have in every golfers’ arsenal, takes a while to use successfully. Probably that’s why so many golfers out there are unable to make the most of this particular club when it comes to improving short game performance.

The thing is you have to be patient with a pitching wedge. Basics tips will get you to swing the golf club in the right manner but you still need to be a little patient with it. And remember that even your follow-through is an integral part of the process with your pitching wedge. And so is making adjustments.

So don’t give up just yet, keep working on those skills that get you one step closer to not only picking up the picking wedge but also hitting it like a champion!

Photo of author

Jim Furyk

One of the PGA TOUR’s most recognizable and talented golfers, Jim Furyk was born on May 12, 1970 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It seems like Furyk was born to play golf; his father Mike as an assistant pro at Edgmont Country club, and young Jim was raised into the game. Jim Furyk’s only golf instruction came from his father; and many note that might account for his unusual—yet effective—swing. In addition to Edgmont Country Club, Mike Furyk also served as head pro at Uniontown Country Club.

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