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The Golf Channel and Tiger Woods

Posted on: December 7, 2014
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OK, so I am watching the Golf Channel with Charlie Rymer and Gary Williams this am (Dec 7, 2104) while I am on the treadmill.  My goal is to get caught up on the latest, see who won, and what’s going on…

What is a Pitch or a Chip?

What is a Pitch or a Chip?

In the show, being discussed was Tiger Woods and of course his troubles around the greens while at The Hero Challenge.  In the discussion though the references made by the talent, in my opinion (teaching and playing the game for 35+ years) they are consistently defining an issue incorrectly.

Specifically they use the word pitch and chip to describe a shot around the green.  And in the discussion it was even demonstrated by a woman co-host on the show what Tiger used to do on his chips and now what he is doing….at this point is where a clarification should take place…

By a simple definition a chip is a ball that spend more time on the ground than it does in the air.  And a pitch is one that spends more time in the air than it does on the ground.

Further clarification:

A chipping stroke is best done using a putting stroke method, using the shoulders and creating a simple rocking motion, or pendulum motion.  And when this occurs the ball will tend to come out a lower trajectory, not fly very far, and depending in the club chosen to be chipping with, roll further than it flies.

So a putting and chipping stroke are basically the same motion, just different clubs with various lofts on the face.

Pitching.  This is nothing more than a miniature full swing.  In other words more of the body is used to create the power needed to move the club, with less physical effort, through grass and the rough.  This shot is typically done when one needs to get the ball to fly higher and stop as quickly as possible. Maybe over a bunker or a pin that might be closer to the edge of the green.

When pitching the clubs of choice are those with higher lofts (PW, SW Lob Wedges)

This motion can be done with or without wrist cocking, depending on the length and height looking to be achieved.

Tiger Chunks it At Hero Challenge

Tiger Chunks it At Hero Challenge

The error I saw while watching Tiger play on Thursday, Friday and a little less on Saturday rounds, was he was using a chipping motion (the shoulders) to hit a pitch shot.  Because the chipping motion has less power, the resistance of hitting the turf and causing an almost instant stop (which happened several times during his play) was possibly from not using his body.

Now during the show, they had a camera on the range and he was hitting the shot he was attempting to pull off in play, and he was having incredibly high success….why?  Because he was once again using the power of his rotation of his body, and not just his shoulders to hit this shot.

If you get a chance, and I am sure they will show the chunks he hit, notice how his body never rotates to face his target. This plays almost a double negative in hitting this shot successfully.  The reason why?  Because the body acts a bit like a doorway  and when it does not rotate towards the target, then it becomes more of a roadblock and stops the rest of the swing to happen.

In closing…I really enjoy the Golf Channel…I do however wish when the commentators are referring to a particular type of shot, call it what it has been forever by people who have taught the game ( and I do not mean just me, but since forever) the correct terms.

Because then when the average golfer is taking this to the golf course, they are attempting to hit one type of shot, but using the wrong ingredients in which to do so.

Tiger, Heeee's BAAACK

Tiger, Heeee’s BAAACK

One last note…I think Tiger and his return will be one that proves to be very successful. Not because I am a huge Tiger fan, but this is in his DNA.  A desire to be the very best..not just that he can, but the best on the planet…Have  great week!


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