Golfer’s Guide: Pitching Over Water
Hitting a short pitch shot over a water hazard is a scary proposition. Even if you are confident in your short game, the water has a way of getting inside your head and making your second guess your execution. If you hit the shot just a little bit fat, it can come up short of the target and end up in the water. When that happens, you will be stuck with adding a penalty shot to your score, and will probably have to drop a new ball and try the shot again from the same spot.
Keep Your Head Down
The first step to conquering this scary shot is keeping your head down through impact so you can make clean contact with the ball. It is a natural temptation to look up before you hit the shot – because you want to see if the ball is going to clear the water. Instead, make sure to keep your eyes down all the way through impact and focus on getting good contact. As long as you make clean contact with the ball, you should be able to get your pitch shot to clear the water with ease.
Play it Safe
Another element of the pitch shot over water is picking the right target. If you try to pitch the ball to a target that is barely over the water, you are giving yourself less room for error. If you hit the shot just a little bit short, you might end up finding the water. Try picking a more conservative target for your shots, even if it means not getting quite as close to the hole. When you do this, you have more margin for error in case of a mishit, and you will also feel more confidence because you will know that your target isn’t as close to the water.
To prepare yourself for the pitch shot, imagine that the water simply isn’t there. While that might be hard to do at first, you should be able to convince yourself that you don’t have to worry about the hazard in time and just concentrate on executing your swing. Picture your ball floating up into the air and landing softly on the green – the water should not enter the picture at any time. Once you are able to narrow your focus to just your ball and the target, the shot becomes much easier.