PITCH HAR­MONY

STRIKE THE RIGHT NOTE WITH DJ’S AP­PROACH

Golf Asia - - GOLFING INSTRUCTION - Claude Har­mon re­veals three things you can learn from Dustin’s ra­zor-sharp wedge game

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.

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