Lake Tahoe golf tips: Pitch closer by not looking at the flag
Special to the Bonanza
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — As I work with both amateurs and pros, I notice that whenever I see them consistently hitting their pitch and chip shots too long, it’s because they are fixating on the flag as they are setting up for the shot.
When you set up to hit either a pitch or a chip shot, it is important to line up your landing spot using the flag/hole as your final intending finishing spot for the shot. However, you then must figure out the ideal spot short of the hole where you need to land the ball to achieve that result.
Once that landing spot has been identified, it should become the primary focus for your eyes during the shot. If you land the ball on or near your ideal landing spot, the ball will then roll to the hole.
When you are pitching or chipping and continue looking at the flag, you will unintentionally make the flag your intended landing spot, and the result will be a shot that flies farther than you intended and rolls well past the hole.
You can practice this concept by getting a small hand towel wet and placing it on the ground where you intend to land your shot. Then focus on the towel as you hit the shot. During your practice you will start to notice how much more comfortable it is to focus on the landing spot, and how much easier that makes it to get the ball to come to rest near the hole.
Bonus tip: When possible, try to pick a target landing spot that is about 1-2 yards on to the green. This will give you the most consistent results by landing your shot on the most consistent grass on the course. The rough and fringe can have slight imperfections that bounce your ball off line when it lands.
Scott Schuster is the Teaching Professional for the Incline Village Golf Courses. Contact him for lessons or to dial in your pitching/chipping strategy by calling 775-832-1275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.