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Sharper Short Game
Helen Alfredsson

The principles that govern your pitching action are exactly the same as those you use in the full swing. From 100 yards and in, it's your versatility that counts.

On creating a compact, repeating action

When you watch good players hitting wedge shots, you might be surprised at just how aggressive they are through the ball. For a shot of anything from 50 to 90 yards or so, they use speed to create the perfect ball-turf strike that imparts backspin. This is how they control the flight of the ball and its subsequent reaction on the green.

The secret to this close-game control is a swing that sees the hands, arms and body work in harmony from the set-up all the way to the finish. As such, all the work that you put into the short game actually improves your full swing - because this is the very 'core' of your motion.

I take great care to make sure that the hands and arms work with the body as I make these mini-swings. The wrists hinge naturally and the club swings up freely to create the backswing.

Find your range

Distance control in the short game is the key to consistently good scoring, and the best advice is this: once you have a reasonably good technique, go out and establish your 'best' distances with each of your pitching clubs. The key is to go out and practise your most reliable swing. For me that's the three-quarter action you see here. I will pitch 20 balls with this swing and then measure the landing distance to give me a precise yardage I know can trust. I then repeat the exercise with all of my wedges to give me a span of scoring shots.


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