STRIKE THE RIGHT NOTE WITH DJ’S APPROACH
1 KEEP THE SPEED UP TO ADD BITE
For most of us, the Holy Grail of pitching is the shot that bounces once before spinning to a standstill. But to hit that shot you need speed, and most club golfers pitch with an action that has none. The typical problem is a backswing that’s too long. We have some sort of internal GPS which tells us this and slows the swing down through impact… and that compromises quality of strike. With DJ we constantly work on keeping the action short and crisp, allowing him to build that speed into his motion. If your wedge play lacks bite, shorten the backswing and follow this rule.
2 WORK ON THREE SWING LENGTHS
When I work with an average golfer, I’ll give them 10 balls to hit to the same pin. The bad shots are always when the bottom falls out of club and ball speed, perhaps by as much as 5-10mph. Good players are always within 1-2mph. Nine times out of 10, this is down to swing length either side of the ball.
However long your backswing is, your through swing should mirror it. DJ employs three lengths of swing – half, three-quarter and full – and is very diligent about matching up backswing and follow through lengths. This allows him to deliver the club with consistent acceleration. So just as he did, head to the range and work on creating and hitting those three lengths, marrying up the travel either side of the ball.
This will massively help with keeping up the club speed, strike quality and general consistency.
3 WORK ON GIVING YOUR SHOTS THE SAME ‘LOOK’
If you tracked 20 pitches to the same target it should look like painting by numbers; but for most club golfers it bears a closer resemblance to abstract art. When I look at Dustin’s pitch data on Trackman I can see it is very consistent – the launch, height, spin, club speed are very uniform. But DJ can also see this simply by looking at the flight of the ball; his shots have the same look to them in terms of trajectory, shape, height, divot depth and of course distance. So when you practise pitching, stick with one distance and work really hard on keeping the swing speed and shot trajectory the same. If you struggle, go back to evening up the length of backswing and follow through; most of the time, this is the issue.