California Golf

California Golf + Travel November 2017

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JOHN BURCKLE has 27 years of professional playing experience, including the PGA Tour, Nationwide Tour, Asian Tour and local mini tour events. He has 17 years of teaching experience with students ranging from PGA Tour players to beginners, and runs his JB Golf lesson programs out of the Golf Lab in Santa Ana. Contact John at jburckle@cox.net. PITCH PERFECT LEARN TO GET IT CLOSE FROM SHORT YARDAGE I n the 25 years I've been teaching all aspects of golf, I'm still amazed how many everyday golfers don't understand how to hit different kinds of pitch shots, such as high or low shots. Most golfers should first learn to pitch the ball low (the pitch and run, or "bump and run"). This is a shot that flies about a quarter of the way to the hole and then runs along the ground the rest of the way. To hit this shot, you'll need to set your feet relatively close together, with your weight favoring your left leg (for the right-handed player), and the ball should be placed back in your stance. Lean the shaft forward so the hands are ahead of the ball (Image 1). As you make your swing, be sure to keep your weight left; this will produce a low, running pitch. Once you gain confidence in the bump and run, you can now learn to hit higher, softer pitches. Simply move the ball up a little in your stance and try not to lean the shaft as far forward (Image 2). If you want the ball to go really high, open the club face a little and lean the shaft behind the ball (Image 3). Notice in the three pictures that there is very little change in my set up to hit these shots. So next time you're practic- 3 2 I N S T R U C T I O N 44 NOV/DEC 2017 ing your pitching, experiment leaning the shaft forward to hit lower shots and not so much for higher, softer pitch shots. Learning these different shots will lower your score and makes the game a lot more fun! 1

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