Without doubt we have all hear the expression in golfing “Drive for show and putt for dough. Nothing could be truer. In golf as in life – all shots in the end count the same. A lost putt counts the same as the long drive.
How many times have you made a good long drive off the tee, another second shot just short of the green , and then for some reason the pitch to the green is either too short or too long ?. In the end you may well have ended up taking three putts to put the ball unto the cup.
Four shots have been made from the pitch shot to putting the ball in the cup, which are twice as many as it took to get from the tee to the near edge of the green. For a par four hole this means a double bogey. Have too many of these and your golfing score is more than ruined.
Contrary to this, if you can learn to pitch and chip the ball reasonably close to the flag stick, you stand a good change of dropping the golf ball for a par score. On the shorter par four holes and most of the par five holes, a well placed pitch shot, close to the flag stick, affords the golfing player an opportunity to birdie the hole.
One of the most certain ways to improve pitching ability is to practice the shot from various distances to the target. From such practice it is soon possible to learn the range for each club used, and get the idea as to the length of the backswing necessary for the needed distance.
The best first step is to always learn from the Pros. Why waste much time and effort afterwards unlearning bad habits picked up along the way. Proper form and technique in putting is everything. Next practice the stroke in your own backyard or on the driving range putting area until you can place the ball within easy putting distance of your target most of the time.
Pitching for about an hour at a time, it should not take long before you should be able to place most of your practice shots to within a six foot circle. Even though the grass surface near the circle may not be exactly the same as a putting green, easy adjustments can be made in your stroke to compensate.
All in all for all of your efforts to practice your short game you will improve your pitch and run shots greatly. Chip shots can also be practiced in this manner. When you place your ball within a six foot circle you will have only a three foot putt or even less to the golf cup.
The full hit backspin or the cut shots are more difficult, and perhaps should be tried at the practice range of the golf course. You may well damage your own lawn. These are valuable shots in hitting over trees, out of heavy rough or sand, or to pitch over a trap where there is little room for the ball to run on the green to the cup.
Playing out of sand traps is a harrowing experience for most high handicap golfers, and is the place in the golfing game where more shots are wasted than any other place on the golf course, except perhaps the putting green. Even though these trap shots are more difficult for the average player than some others , they can be learn, when one develops the proper coordination of mind m muscles and nerves which control perfect timing.
Finally, all the excellence of good pitch shots, chips and sand play will all be of little consequence if one cannot putt the ball into the cup with reasonable regularity. With proper initial professional instruction and a little regular practice anyone can learn to put well.