Keep your Leading Arm Firm for Better Pitches

By: Joel L Nelson

The short game can make or break your score on the golf course. If you can consistently get up and down from 50 yards and in you can shoot very good scores even if your long irons and woods are not cooperating on a given round. One source of inconsistent pitch shots, especially shots with less than a full swing, is the failure to keep your leading arm firm from the wrist to the shoulder during the golf swing.

Many swing instruction guides and videos will point out the importance of swing width as a source of power in a full golf swing, but sometimes the importance of swing width is ignored in the short game.

Although power is not necessary in the short game, swing width is necessary. The left arm is responsible for maintaining the arc of the swing, so keeping it firm is essential to consistent pitch shots.

To illustrate, imagine a wooden 12 inch ruler attached to the back of your top hand (left hand for a right handed golfer) in such a way that it reaches from the knuckle of your middle finger, over your wrist, and up your arm almost to your elbow. When you take a pitch shot, your left wrist should not bend either direction -- into or away from -- the imaginary ruler running up your forearm. Do not lock your wrist so tightly that you become rigid. Just keep your leading wrist firm. You should find that you make consistent, solid contact with the ball when you do that. At that point it's a matter of practice to learn how hard to swing to hit the necessary distance for a variety great pitch shots.

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