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How to hit with a pitching wedge

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Are you having trouble hitting a pitching wedge? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many golfers struggle with this shot, but by following the right steps and practice drills, you too can become more accurate when it comes to driving with a pitching wedge.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of how to hit a high-quality shot using your pitching wedge so that you can score better on the course. Read on for some great tips and tricks about perfecting your technique with this important club!

Why is your pitching wedge important?

Many golfers overlook the importance of becoming consistent with your pitching wedge. The ability to hit precision shots close range is an invaluable skill that will ultimately help you drop some strokes off your scorecard. 

It requires more control and finesse than most players practice on the range, yet consistently hitting a pitching wedge from these distances will prove very beneficial once you’re out on the course playing a round. 

Mastering this club will give you confidence and help you achieve a higher level of performance when situated at those tricky spots around the green. It may require extra effort, but it is certainly worth it!

What you should do when hitting your pitching wedge

Hit down on the golf ball

Ball first contact
Image Credit: Top Speed Golf

It is very important to remember to hit down on the golf ball with your pitching wedge. For some golfers, it can be difficult to trust that the club will do its job, but if you hit down you will get great launch and spin, and this will help increase your distance.

In order to hit down on the golf ball, make sure you are swinging through the ball. Before I hit, I try to visualize the contact and what it will feel like. For instance, I like to envision the bottom of my swing being after the golf ball and during my divot.

Put your weight forward

Put weight forward
Image Credit: Golf Distillery

Putting your weight on your front foot is another critical component to your swing. If the weight is on your back foot during your swing, you’re going to be hitting up on the golf ball, leading to thin shots that don’t typically find the green. Or you might hit the ball fat if the weight transfer is too late in the downswing.

So, what’s the key to fix this? First try taking a few practice swings, and really try to feel the weight shifting to the inside of your back foot in the backswing, then back to outside of your front foot in the downswing.

Just about all of your weight should be on the front foot at the end of the swing, so you should theoretically be able to lift your back foot off the ground without losing your balance.

Line the ball up slightly behind the middle of your stance

Ball Position
SoCal Golfer

You could have the best swing possible, but if you’re lining up incorrectly with the ball, none of it will matter. Placing the ball in the wrong spot of your stance will lead to poor contact every time, and you won’t get very good launch or distance out of your pitching wedge.

A general rule of thumb is to place the ball slightly back in your stance when utilizing your pitching wedge because it is shorter than other clubs. Your stance should be shoulder-width apart, and then you should imagine a line running straight through the middle of your stance.

Using that line, you should now try to align the golf ball just behind that line, and then remember to swing down at the golf ball while transferring your weight to the front foot.

Grip down on the club when pitching from shorter distances

If you’re in a spot where you need to hit your pitching wedge shorter than you usually would try gripping down on the golf club. This helps you gain more control over the ball and leads to better accuracy from shorter distances.

For instance, if you typically hit your pitching wedge 120 yards but have a shot from 100 yards, choking down on the grip can help you manage this scenario much easier.

What you shouldn't do when hitting your pitching wedge

Don't lean back

Properly body alignment
Image Credit: Golf Distillery

Leaning back goes hand-in-hand with putting your weight on the front foot. Leaning back will lead to an upward swing angle, something you should only have when hitting your driver.

So remember to utilize the tips above to get your body weight forward and at a downward attack angle.

Don't swing too hard

Swing Tempo
Image Credit: Skilled Golf

Everyone wants to increase their distance with every club, but the worst thing you can do is swing hard. This will lead to inconsistent swings that aren’t accurate and don’t generate optimal contact.

Trust that the loft and compression of the pitching wedge will launch the ball with proper spin and speed, and soon enough you’ll start to see increases in consistency, and maybe a few extra yards.

Don't over-estimate how far you can hit your pitching wedge

This is somewhat similar to the tip above, but make sure you accurately judge how far you hit your pitching wedge.

If your friend pulls out his pitching wedge when you feel like an 8-iron will get you to the green, don’t pull out your pitching wedge and try to match them.

Everyone’s ability is different, and remember to be realistic with your distances so that you can start finding more greens.

What is the loft of a pitching wedge?

The loft of a pitching wedge can range anywhere from 44 to 48 degrees. With many iron sets adopting stronger lofts, it’s normal to find most pitching wedges clocking in with a loft between 44-46 degrees, but they can still reach up to 48 degrees.

How far should my pitching wedge go?

While most PGA Tours can hit their pitching wedge around 140 yards, the range for average golfers can be anywhere from 100-140 yards. This can vary based on various factors.

First could be your swing speed. If you have a slower swing speed then you can expect your pitching wedge distance to be on the lower end of the spectrum.

The loft of the pitching wedge can also play a role in your distance. A higher lofted wedge will travel less distance, while a strong loft earns you some extra yards.

And, of course, your skill and experience can influence your distance. If you are a new golfer or have a high handicap, your swing won’t be very consistent or accurate. This will cause your launch, spin, and ball speed to vary, therefore causing less distance.

This is not something you should be stressing about, though. As you progress your swing and become a better golfer, you’ll notice your distance will start to increase on its own.

Wrapping it up

When hitting your pitching wedge, make sure to hit down on the golf ball, put your weight forward, and line the ball up correctly in your stance. By applying these three principles to your swing you’ll be able to start seeing great results in your confidence and scores.

Remember to stay away from leaning back and swinging too hard, because this will cause inconsistent swing with poor contact, leading to unnecessary strokes on your scorecard. As you get better, so will your distance, and pretty soon you’ll be finding more greens and lowering your scores.

If you have any more questions feel free to reach out to me and ask! Although I am not the best golfer on the course, I have been studying this game for years and have watched numerous videos and read countless articles regarding improving your swing.

Thanks for reading and I hope this article helps you find lower scores on the course and improve your game!


How do you use a pitching wedge for beginners?

As a beginner, you’re pitching wedge should be used a lot for short distance shots that need precision. This involves chipping around the green, pitching from 50-60 yards, or even regular distance shots.

Just remember to hit down and through the golf ball to see the best results.

Do you hit down on a pitching wedge?

You most certainly want to hit down on a pitching wedge. Hitting down creates the needed compression that generates great spin and ball speed. This will then create the perfect launch and distance on your shots.

Where do you hit the ball with a pitching wedge?

You will typically hit your pitching wedge for shots within 130 yards. You could hit a full pitching wedge when around this distance, or you could use it from closer distances when you need to be accurate.

It can also be used around the green for chipping or off the tee on a short par 3. Make sure that no matter where you are using it from you make center contact on the clubface.

Do you hit a pitching wedge like an iron?

Your pitching wedge should be swung very similarly to your irons. This means hitting down on the golf ball and taking a divot at the bottom of your swing.

The only thing which should change is the ball position. The pitching wedge ball position should be slightly back in your stance, and as the loft of your irons decrease the ball should be moved forward.

How far should you hit with a pitching wedge?

For beginners, hitting your pitching wedge around 100 yards is a great start. As you become more advanced and develop a confident swing, it is normal to see your pitching wedge distance increase to 120-140 yards.

Why am I shanking my pitching wedge?

You are likely shanking your pitching wedge due to a poor swing. Make sure to hit down on the golf ball with your weight on the front foot, and swing with a nice, smooth tempo. Swinging too hard will lead to inconsistent and poor contact, which can cause shanks.

It is also important to note that you may be shanking your shots due to an out-to-in swing. This leads to contact on the heel of the club and causes a nasty slice. To fix this, work on keeping your arms tight to your body during your swing to create an in-to-out swing path.

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