My “Pitch Perfect” Backup Plan to Get a Bad Round Back on Track

Ed DiTusa Golf Instruction, Swing Coach Leave a Comment

The alarm goes off at 5am, coffee is ready and you’re out the door by 5:15 to make your 6am tee time.

Pre-round warmup routine complete and you’re standing on the first tee ready to make the course call you Daddy today.

Driver comes out of the bag and that brand new Titleist is tee’d up nice and high because you’re going to pipe it 285 down the center. You’ve picked your landing zone, started your backswing and BOOM it’s 30 yards right and out of play.

Not how we expected to start the round but that’s why we have breakfast balls right? Tee up another and now we’ve topped it. That 285 yard drive is actually 122 and all of our confidence is out the window.

That’s my expectation followed by my depressing reality to often. By this point, hole 1 of 18 has set the tone and I’ll keep pressing and pressing trying to make up for it. Instead of par, I’m making double bogey and this continues through the round.

Because of this I’ve thought to myself “what can I do to get back on track?”

One part of my game that I’m pretty confident in is my pitch game. I seem to be able to make solid contact and hit it straight as an arrow. This made me think about the three club challenge (Golf Podcast #174) and how it worked out for me.

Taking what I’ve learned from that, I tried what I am calling “pitch perfect” to the course. My thinking behind this is creating a “break in case of emergency” plan that I can fall back on when rounds start to go poorly.

I know I over swing at times and let’s be honest, what amateur doesn’t? But I have never gone to the course with a set gameplan that doesn’t allow me to take full swings.

Rule 1 – Stick to the Game-plan 

It’s so easy to throw out common sense when things go bad. Amateurs try too hard, grip too tight and most of all, over swing (I know I do).

Stick to the basics of hitting a pitch shot or a 3/4 iron. Choose the best club that you can control down the center of the fairway from tee to green (keep in mind if you have to carry 170 yards of water, a 9 iron may not be the best choice for you).

Commit to the plan!

Rule 2 – Hit the Sweet Spot  

This is basic. Don’t over swing!

The idea is to hit the ball in the right direction and not so much for the furthest distance. Half to three quarter swing is all I’m going to do. Anything more than that and I’ll be out of pitch (see what I did there?)

No matter what club you choose, your focus is hitting it square. That’s why we are not taking full swings.

Rule 3Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

This is a back up plan – not a new way to play every round. My thinking behind this is to get the game back on track and not to replace the lead (full swings). The only intention is to bring this part in on occasion when I need a little support rather than trying to carry out this game plan on every round of golf.

Once you’ve gotten your confidence back, bring full swings back into play.

Now that I’ve set rules for myself it was time to take this to course. My round was a practice round with the intention to follow the rules. I’m keeping score but not really paying attention to it.

Here’s What I Learned

After playing 9 holes with a strict focus on only ¾ or pitch shots, it only validated what I already knew.

When I did the three-club challenge I found myself over swinging at times because I was only using three clubs. Doing the Pitch Perfect Challenge, I didn’t run into that problem. I wasn’t allowed to over swing.

One thing that was validated for me is how much confidence I regained on the tee. After I had my driver fitting (my first driver fitting) in the beginning of the year, I approached every tee box with a positive attitude and that resulted in some of my personal best drives. After a few rounds of bad drives and over-corrections later and I’ve been fighting an uphill battle to get back on track with no success.

After playing four holes with the set mindset of clubbing down and swinging easy, it took some serious dedication to the practice round for me to leave the driver in the bag. Some of those par 4’s where TEMPTING!

I can confidently say that I have validated my thoughts and my break in case of emergency plan will be firmly implanted in my mind for the rest of my golfing life.

About Ed DiTusa

Ed started playing golf when he was 18. It started out as a hobby and something he liked to do but by 2014 it had turned into a full blown obsession. Since then Ed has committed himself to improving and learning more about the game. He doesn’t work in the golf industry, he’s not a teaching pro, he’s a guy who just loves the game and enjoys sharing his thoughts with others who share the same passion.

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