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Mastering the Approach Shot: Distance Control Basics

Only a few drills can let you control distance

An approach shot in golf is the one which is played into the green, with some distance and it requires a full swing. The key to hit a solid approach shot is the distance control. You might have got confused about how you can control the distance on a golf course. It is obviously fixed. But, what we mean here is that you have to control the distance your golf ball covers when you hit the approach shot or a lay-up shot. You should also be aware of the distance you cover with each club in your bag.

Though most golfers have a rough idea of how far they hit their shots, but many expert golfers spend a good amount of time in analyzing the distance they cover with their wedges. There is big problem regarding distance. Many golfers overestimate the distance they hit, which many a times results in over swinging. And the ball reaches nowhere near the target.

Range finders

You can take the help of range finders these days to help you determine the distance accurately to many fixed points at the golf course. You can buy a range finder device or download a range finder app on your smartphone. They help a lot to accurately find out and improve the distance coverage.

How to control distance in an approach shot?

We have three basic approach shots while playing golf: the pitch shot, the chip shot and the flop shot. In this article, we will talk about controlling distance in a pitch shot. It does take a lot of time to practice, but you can practice the following exercise to cut short the time you might spend in controlling the distance coverage.

  1. Take at least 3 lofted clubs with you to the golf course or the practice range. A gap wedge, a lob wedge and a pitching wedge.
  2. Take the club with the maximum loft and take a backswing with the club parallel to the ground when it is behind your head. Grip down on the club with a little narrower stance. Hit at least 10 shots with this position and note down the average distance of all these shots.
  3. In the next drill, your arms should be parallel to the ground when you take a backswing. Hit 10 more pitch shots and calculate the average distance. Remember to grip down on the club even further with a narrower stance.
  4. Finally, position the club such that the club shaft comes parallel to the ground. Take a short backswing and hit 10 pitch shots. While you grip down on the club, your stance should be the narrowest. Calculate the average distance.
  5. Repeat this drill with the other clubs also.
  6. Now you have 9 different average distances. Keep them handy on a piece of paper in your golf bag.
  7. You can now judge the distance you can cover with each club given different targets.

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