After mastering the concept of the tee shot, the next step as a golf instruction beginner is to move on to the short game and what are known as approach shots. For most people, these shots will be increasingly more difficult because they require more skill & patience than a simple tee shot.
There are a variety of approach shots, all of which are used in different situations depending on where your initial shot lands on the course. However, your intention with these shots is always to land on the green.
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The pitch shot is an approach shot that is played from farther away than the other shots. Using a wedge, the ideal pitch shot is the perfect combination of enough swing momentum to carry your shot through, but not enough to send it sailing over the green. Trajectory will be low to average depending on how far you are from the cup and you want to make sure the ball doesn’t roll too far.
You must start off with a slightly open stance, positioning your right foot directly across from the ball. When following through on a pitch shot, always make sure to keep your backswing as short as you possibly can. Failure to keep your backswing in check will usually cause you to instinctively put the brakes on your shot while accelerating, which is a definite no-no. You want to have enough confidence in your wedge to let the club do the work for you: don’t think you have to assist the ball through the air.
Another approach shot is known as the chip shot. You’ll need to use a chip shot once you’re within about 30 yards from the green, usually after a fairway drive or tee shot. The idea is for this shot to have a much shorter trajectory, so you will need to use a less lofted club. Proper weight distribution is paramount to getting off a decent chip shot. If you’re a right handed golfer, you want to put the majority of your weight on the left side and hold this position through the duration of your shot.
There are generally two kinds of chip shots that we want to concern ourselves with. The first one is what’s known as the bump-and-run shot, and the second is a flop shot. The Bump And Run is usually taken with an 8, 7 or 6 iron club and with the clubface hooded. That way your shot will have have less loft. You also want to have just enough power in your backswing to follow through. The flop shot is used when you want to get over an obstacle like a rough patch or a sand trap, so you’re going to want to have a much higher trajectory in order to push the ball over. Open up your stance and follow through as far under the ball as possible to try and pop it up, and you’ll keep your ball away from the danger zones with a good position for a subsequent shot.