After mastering the concept of the tee shot, the next step for the beginner to golf is to move on to the short game and what are known as approach shots. So, we are going to focus on learning the approach shots for the beginner golfer.
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.
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 off the back end of the green.
Pitching accurately from the fairway requires good distance control. That’s not easy to achieve.
The tendency is for your swing to be either too long, in which case the clubhead decelerates through impact; or too short, in which case the clubhead is jerked through impact.
Either way costs you strokes, inflating your golf scores and your golf handicap.
Learning to pitch accurately is a two-stage process.
One stage involves building better technique. You can work on technique in golf lessons and on the practice range whenever you go.
The second stage involves learning how to judge distances. While you can’t learn to judge distances simply from taking golf lessons or reading golf tips, they can facilitate the learning process.
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. This is 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.
First, set-up as if you were going to make a long putt. Use your normal putting grip and play the ball back in your stance, off the inside of the heel of your back foot.
The 8 iron is ideal for this type of shot because it’s short enough to deloft without the club’s shaft hitting you during the shot.
Also, keep your hands and weight forward, favoring your front side, as you would if you were hitting a chip shot.
Hold the club vertically, so that the club’s heel is raised off the ground, enabling you to stand closer to the ball. And spread your elbows
Moving the ball back in your stance and shifting your weight forward positions the ball off the toe-end of the clubhead when you hit it. Using the toe-end will deaden the ball when you make contact.
It will also help control the ball’s roll.
Hit the ball with a gentle rocking of the shoulders, as you would if you were putting. This technique raises the club several inches off the ground in the backswing and forces you to hit down on the ball slightly, chipping it into the air.
Concentrate on maintaining the width of the gap between your elbows as you swing through. It also ensures a pure arms-and-shoulders motion.
Using the 8-iron approach takes your wrists out of play. Recreational golfers who have trouble making short chip shots often have overly active wrists.
With this approach, you’ll eliminate your wrists yet still strike the ball solidly—just keep your head still and focus on making a short, firm follow-through,
You can also use this approach for longer chip shots. Just lengthen your stroke to play the longer shot, as you would if you were hitting a long putt. For extra long chip shots, try using a 5 or 6 iron to get the required roll.
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 less loft. You also want to have just enough power in your backswing to follow through.
You use the flop shot 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.
This way you’ll keep your ball away from the danger zones with a good position for a subsequent shot.
To sum it all up.
Creating golf shots around the green is not as difficult as one may think. Using one basic technique described above, one can hit a number of shots just by using an assortment of golf club selection.
You can begin with a narrow stance and play the golf ball off your back foot.
The most important lesson in golf is to just have fun when learning the approach shots for the beginner golfer. The internet is a good source of information on how to play the game.
Secondly, there are many videos available that can teach you everything from improving your swing to putting. Check out Our Golf Shop for tips on improving your game, and for your golf equipment needs.
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