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Pitch Shot-Simple 3 x 3 Matrix
by Keith Thompson

You have been forced to lay up on a long par four, but due to an unlucky bounce you have been left with an awkward distance with a bunker between you and the hole. A pitch shot is the obvious shot selection however you have one of those <em>in-between distances</em> and are afraid of either going to far or pitching the ball into the bunker. Learning the 3 x 3 Matrix can solve this problem.

The 3 x 3 Matrix assumes that you have at least 3 wedges, like a pitching wedge, a gap wedge, a sand wedge, or a lob wedge. If you have all four then you will have the 4 x 3 matrix. The first number in the matrix represents the total number of wedges you carry. In our example we will assume that you carry a pitching wedge, a sand wedge and a lob wedge.

When we learn to play golf many of were taught the pitch shot is a half swing. So we naturally swing the club to the half way position in our back swing. Unfortunately, many of are comfortable using one club for pitching and will only use the half swing. To take full advantage of the 3 x 3 matrix we need to learn three swings.

We do not need to learn three different swing techniques but three different swing lengths when we pitch. The three swing lengths will produce three distances. Now if remember our multiplication tables we know that 3 x 3 = 27. Using the 3 x 3 Matrix in pitching will give us 27 options we can use for pitching the ball with confidence and accuracy.

The first swing. Imagine your arms are the little hand on a clock. After setting up just swing your arms until they reach 7:30. At this point your wrists have hinged a small amount. Swing the club forward striking the ball first and brush the grass after impact and follow through to at least to the 3 o'clock position.

The second swing. This is the swing length we are most familiar with. Swing your arms to the 9 o'clock position creating an L-shape with the shaft of the club and your lead arm. Swing the club forward striking the ball and follow through to a 2 o'clock finish.

The third swing. The longest swing of the three. Swing your arms to the 10 o'clock position and swing through to a full finish.

Use all three swings with all of your wedges. Record the average distance of each shot and be as precise as possible. The more you practice these shots using this method the better you will know your yardages. These are the shots that can really save strokes.

Once you know your yardages put a label on each of your wedges as a distance reminder for each of the three swings. E.g. Your sand wedge 7:30 swing: 25 yards, 9 o'clock swing: 45yards, 10 o'clock swing: 60 yards, have your label as 25-45-60. This is legal under the rules of golf so take advantage of it.

Now if you have that same shot is may no longer be an awkward shot, you will know it is a 10 o'clock swing with a lob wedge. This method will give you 27 options using the same swing techniques you already know giving you the added confidence you need but knowing that you have the right club. Use the 3 x 3 Matrix and boost your confidence and lower your score.

About the author

Creator and Webmaster of TP Golf Online. Has taught golfers of all levels as a CPGA Professional in Canada.


 

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