Part of what makes golf so hard is that not all golf shots require a full swing.
You must know how to hit shots of many different lengths to be able to score.
The 30-yard pitch is an essential shot in golf.
It takes a bit of feel and some practice to get the 30-yard pitch shot down, but it certainly can be done.
If you are new to the game or you struggle with these types of shots, our guide will certainly help make things a bit easier on you.
How to Hit a 30-Yard Pitch Shot
There are a few critical steps to hitting a great 30-yard pitch shot.
We will break these all down for you to make sure you feel confident with this shot.
Step 1: Choosing a Club
Potentially, the hardest part of hitting a great pitch shot is making sure you choose the right club.
A pitch is a bit different than a chip.
Pitch shots fly most of the way to the hole, and then they will only roll a few yards.
Since the pitch shot is intended to stop rolling rather quickly, you are going to want to use a club with more loft.
The lob wedge, sand wedge, gap wedge, and pitching wedge are all excellent choices for the pitch shot.
If you end up hitting something more like a nine or eight iron, you may get too much roll out of your shot.
Most people feel most confident hitting this shot using their sand wedge.
The sand wedge is a great medium-lofted wedge.
It will be a little easier to control than the lob wedge and have a bit more launch and height than a pitching wedge.
When using a sand wedge, you also won’t have to take a full swing, and that is something you want to avoid when hitting a pitch shot.
With a lob wedge, you may need a longer swing, and if you can avoid that, it is a good thing.
If you talk to professional golfers and low handicappers, they will tell you that you should be able to hit a 30-yard pitch with almost any club.
This is the truth; it is essential to learn to use any of your clubs for shots like these.
When you practice the 30-yard pitch, if you struggle with a sand wedge, try the pitching wedge and see if it is a better fit for you.
Eventually, make it a point to learn how to hit a 30-yard pitch with at least three or four different golf clubs.
Step 2: Setup
The 30-yard pitch shot is not a full swing shot.
If you are going to be shortening your swing, it is also essential to decrease the size of your golf stance.
If you set up to hit a pitch shot and your feet and hands are set up to hit a drive, your results will not be consistent.
The perfect setup for a 30-yard pitch shot is going to require your feet to be very close together.
Some golfers feel best if their feet are almost touching.
One thing this narrow stance will do is allow you to keep all the movements in this swing more compact.
The more compact movements help golfers maintain control and consistency.
You are also going to want to stand closer to the ball when hitting a 30-yard chip shot.
You don’t want to reach for the ball as you will end up increasing the chances of hitting a fat or thin shot.
Once your feet are in the right place and you are standing a little closer to the ball, you will want to make sure the ball is in the middle of your feet.
It can be positioned slightly back, but because your feet are so close together, it should be right in the middle.
The ball position is quite essential to make sure you hit the ball at the proper moment in the arc of the swing.
Since you are standing closer to the ball and everything is more compact, you may also need to choke up on the golf club.
Choking up is a great thing to do for these shorter shots.
You will get much more control when you have your hands closer to the shaft of the golf club.
Your hands should also be pushed slightly ahead of the golf ball.
The forward press helps to make sure you hit your pitch shot with a descending blow.
The descending blow will help the ball to go up in the air and have some spin as well.
Golfers who try to lift their pitch shots in the air struggle to get consistency in their short game.
Step 3: Length of Swing
The length of a pitch shot swing is going to depend on the club you are using and your clubhead speed.
For most golfers, a 30-yard pitch shot will be about a half a swing.
Certainly, you want to avoid anything that takes the club back past waist-high.
When you get to a point where you may need to break your wrists, this is where the risk of thin and fat shots can come up.
The 30-yard pitch shot requires some great timing, and it is impossible to hit this shot well if you don’t hit down and through the ball.
You must pick a spot slightly in front of your target, knowing that the ball is going to roll for a few feet after it hits the ground.
If you go directly at the target, the ball will run past the pin, and you will very likely need to pitch the ball yet again.
It takes a bit of time to learn the lengths of the swing you will need for different yardages.
This is partly what golfers refer to when they say “feel”.
If you can’t feel the difference between a ten-yard shot and a forty-yard shot, you are going to have a hard time repeating these things with consistency.
It’s important to keep in mind that taking a long swing and slowing down as you get close to impact is not the way to hit shorter shots.
You need to always be accelerating through the ball if you want the shot to perform as you picture it.
Step 4: Follow Through
The pitch shot needs a follow-through.
You cannot stop at the ball and expect great results.
The follow-through should be about the same size as the backswing and your body should be rotating towards your target.
When you rotate towards the target, it helps the club release and it helps your shots stop closer to the pin.
Overall, the pitch shot is a finesse type shot, and it will take some time to learn how to hit it properly.
The most important steps of the process are the club selection and the setup.
You will need to have both of these down before you can become great at pitching the ball.
Ways to Practice the Pitch Shot
If you have been around the game of golf for some time, you probably know that it requires a good deal of practice.
The pitch shot is undoubtedly no exception.
Luckily, for these shorter shots, you may be able to practice in your backyard.
When you practice the pitch, you want to make sure you have a general idea of how far the shot is that you are practicing.
Try and set up flags or markers at the 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-yard marks.
Choose a club you want to work with and start trying to hit shots to each target.
Be sure to alternate as on the golf course as you will not get twenty tries to hit the ball to the twenty-yard target.
Hit one to the 10-yard, one to the 20, and so on.
Learn how to adjust from one shot to the next.
Always make sure your setup and your alignment are perfect before you take the shot.
Once you feel as though you have this process down, you can switch to the other clubs in your bag.
Work with the lob wedge or the gap wedge and see how close you are getting to the target.
If you are hitting a pitch shot out of the rough, the 60-degree wedge is probably going to be the best choice.
If you are on a perfectly clean fairway lie, you will have your pick as to which golf club is the best for the shot.
There are lots of strategies when it comes to hitting pitch shots, but most importantly, you need to make sure you practice.
Even the professionals need to practice their short game to keep it sharp.
How to Plan a Pitch Shot
One of the most critical factors to hitting a great pitch shot is planning the shot out.
As a golfer, you need to be able to visualize what the shot is going to do and how it will react when you hit the green.
You should be thinking about a spot in front of the pin.
If you are planning to aim your pitch shot directly at the pin, this will not work out well.
When you are hitting a shot from less than 30 yards, you also should be thinking about slope on the green.
If the entire green slopes from front to back, your shot will probably roll a little more than it would on a level green.
If the green is two-tiered, you need to plan to make sure your golf shot has enough speed on it to get up to the second tier.
Great golfers pay attention to everything around them when they pitch.
They want to get the ball as close as they can to the pin to guarantee one putt.
If you don’t pay attention to these little things when you are pitching, you will probably two- or three-putt, and it is just not necessary.
Simply taking a few extra seconds to review the green and make sure you are planning your shot correctly could help you save par.
A 30-yard pitch shot is one you will run across quite often in your golfing career.
The sooner you can get your shots under fifty yards to end up within ten feet of the hole, the sooner your handicap will drop.
Higher handicappers want their pitch shots to land on the green while lower handicappers want them to be within a three-foot circle.
If you start paying a bit more attention to your technique and your overall plan, your pitch shots will get better.
Set aside a bit of time each week to practice, and there will be a noticeable difference in your game.