Golf Pitching - 30 Yard Pitch Shots

The 30 yard pitch shot is a very tough one for golfers at all levels. So what is the secret to playing this shot? Well, the first one is to never put yourself in a position where you are faced with this shot. In the 2005 British Open, Tom Watson asked Jack Nicklaus why he didn't try and drive a particular hole after Watson put his tee shot on the green. Nicklaus replied, "Because the 30 yard pitch shot isn't my best." If the best golfer in the history of the game didn't want to face this delicate shot, don't feel bad if you don't feel comfortable playing it either!

  • Chuck demonstrates several approaches to avoid chunking a 30 yard pitch shot
  • Use a hybrid with a fairly square stance, ball off the left instep, weight slightly forward, and a normal grip to carry most of the way then roll like a putt
  • The 3 wood with the same stance, setup & stroke will carry a bit less and roll more
  • With a 7 iron, the ball is a bit back, off the right big toe, to come down more sharply & fly all the way to the green
  • With the 56 or 60 wedge you want to use the bounce to avoid digging into the ground
  • Get the bounce to release down, allow the hands to release a bit, have the ball & divot up in your stance
  • The wedge is a riskier shot, more suited for playing out of the rough for the first cut

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Bernie
Can you choke down on the hybrid or 3 wood in order to get closer to the ball. If so, what adjustments need to be made??? Thanks
August 27, 2020
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Bernard. You can choke down. Just make sure you the club shaft doesn't stay in too flat of a position. You will need to get slightly closer which will raise the hands a touch. Which will sole the bottom of the face better versus being too toed up.
August 27, 2020
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Blake
Hi, RJ. I played golf! Much improved long game, thanks to you. But my pitch shot doesn't go that far - even with a six-iron, maybe 40-50 yards. And out of deep rough (DEEP after long shut down and rain) - hard to get out. What shot do I need from further out and from deep rough? Tell me and then I can send you some new videos to review. Thanks!
May 6, 2020
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
Well, the biggest things that throw off a shot in deep rough are sliding under the ball, water drops on the grass killing the spin, and blades of grass slowing down the club face or moving it off line. So, you're going to want the club head moving through the grass as little as possible. Thus, you want to really hit down and through on it, steep angle of attack, but you need to have a higher lofted club to get the ball out of the grass quicker. Address the ball at the height that the ball is sitting at, providing it doesn't cause you to move the ball. This should help you get the ball out quick and minimize the time that the club head is affected by the grass. There's a video for flighting wedges that will give you similar techniques to what you'd want to use. Pitch shots aren't designed to go to far. Typically shots around the green. However, if you need to hit a half shot, you can use the flighted wedge technique for shots 100 yards and in or you can get about 80% of your typically distance by using the 9-3 drill but adding a little wrist and elbow cocking for lag after the takeaway portion of the swing, but you have to be careful to not have an inside takeaway because with that short of a swing, it's hard to make any compensations mid-swing, technique has to be spot on.
May 7, 2020
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Blake
Thanks RJ! I couldn’t find any videos using the term “flighted wedge.” Can you give me the name of the video(s) you referred you?
May 7, 2020
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R.J. (Certified RST Instructor)
How to hit a wedge shot | Penetrating Wedge Shots
May 8, 2020
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Ronan
hi, Are you looking for a landing point to play this shot? Ronan
April 23, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ronan. Yes, you are looking for the landing spot and visualizing how it will roll out to the pin from there.
April 23, 2019
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Tram
When playing pitch shot, most of the time the ball flies to the left. I need some clarifications on the motion of the pitch: 1)At impact, is there need of post up like in full swing? 2)It seems there is two ways to pitch. One is to glide the club face under the ball to get a lot of spin but the ball goes shorter. The second is to hit with very tiny angle of attack to get more distance but less spin. For me , I hit about 30y at 11o’clock for the 2nd but only 15y for the 1st method. 3) About release in pitching, do we follow release like in full swing which can keep ball straight. 4) Head position, do we he have to keep back of Tha ball. We need your recommendation to get consistency in the pitching shot. Thank you very much.
February 7, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Tram. You don't need a very aggressive post like in a full swing. But, there will be a small clearing of the hips. Yes, you can slide under for spin, or try to hit it sharper to fly lower. You will follow the release like in a full swing. However, when you tend to get more of a penetrating wedge, or wanting to flight it lower. You will tend to release it more with the body and the hands will be quieter. Head movement should still be pretty minimal and you don't want to drive it ahead of the ball. But, when going much lower and the buttons ahead. You will be a little more on top of the ball (Penetrating Wedge Video).
February 8, 2019
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Brian
Hi Craig, what would be the main cause of me diving at the ball on the downswing on short chip and pitch shots? It's a short of yip/collapse before impact. Using Chucks methodology If I could identify the cause I could try doing the opposite to correct it. Feels like because there is no torque on the way back I am trying to hit it rather than collect on the way down back through.
January 7, 2019
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Brian. Take a look at Master the Golf Chipping Stroke Video. That should clear up the issue. If not, report back to me.
January 7, 2019
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Wyatt
Although I'm in total agreement with using the hybrid as the video shows, our club has a large number of steep fronts to the greens which seems more suited to the 55-60 deg shot. However, I so consistently hit the pitch slightly fat; my own opinion is I overwork the shoulders, but I'm interested in your opinion regarding how to pick the ball cleanly.
June 24, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Wyatt. Take a look at Perfect Pitch Shot Setup and Master the Golf Chipping Stroke. Both will talk about he causes of the fat shot.
June 25, 2018
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Anders
If you hit a 50 yards pitch shot, do you setup with axis tilt or just weight forward to hit slightly more down?
June 20, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Anders. Yes, there will be a small amount of axis tilt.
June 20, 2018
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Anthony
I am having a problem with my grip pressure in the short game. I am virtually keeping the right hand out of the shot. However, from time to time either the left or right hand will increase pressure dramatically on the downswing causing a fat and very frustrating shot. Is there any advise you can give which will enable me to improve this situation. I have watched the video re grip lightly with two fingers of the left hand and virtually leave right hand off but I still find the increased pressure creeps in!! Of course I have been holding my clubs like a vice for 30+ years!!
March 7, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Anthony. The increase is grip pressure is a tough one too battle. Try some of Chris's tips in the 3 Quick Tips to Fix Your Chipping to help get over the chunk hump.
March 7, 2018
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Dennis
Would it be okay to take chipping and pitching practice to my winter practice sessions to reinforce setup, weight transfer and the 9 to 3 swing while I'm learning the rest of the RST material? Or will I be taking the chance of back sliding into old habits by hitting balls too soon at this point and overloading the learning process?
February 1, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dennis. No worries working on the short game in the meantime as long as good principles are applied.
February 2, 2018
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Dennis
Thanks Craig! We have 25/40/55/70/85 yd slanted targets at the heated range I go to in the winter. Results from just setup and 9 to 3 along with tips in this section are amazing! Each target is about 2' high and 3-4' wide. I'm on target, either hitting or coming within 1' of either side 80% of the time. I've been working this winter on adjusting my backswing distance and staying with one club for all those distances (my lob wedge). What's RST's opinion on using partial backswings versus full backswings at varying speed/velocity? Is there a video on this subject? Thanks!
February 3, 2018
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Dennis. I can't think of a video. However, sticking with the same club and varying your rotation/pace is a great way to get those wedge shots down. I don't want you getting to the point where the backswing is really short and big aggressive body through. But, with a balance and blend. All okay. Similar to the Penetrating Wedge Shot Video.
February 5, 2018
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Anthony
How does this pitch shot differ from the full swing with regard to the rotation of the torso moving the club? In the video there seems to be little rotation but more action with the shoulders and arms.
December 28, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Anthony. The pitch shot will be more body rotational versus full arms/hands release because it isn't a power shot. Less face rotation and a little more of a body release.
December 28, 2017
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Piergiorgio
Hi guys, a question now for the "hardpan" in late November in wet european weather: very little "wintery" grass, over a soft, almost muddy ground...40 yards off the green and, why not, with a bunker in between to carry...what is the best club and shot option?
November 20, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Piergriorgio. The goal is to not dig the leading edge too much in the ground. I would practice a very shallow angle of attack with a half pitch shot type motion. You may try a select few clubs to get the proper height and carry. Sort of like hitting a long bunker shot just shaving the top of the ground.
November 20, 2017
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Justin
For the wedge , you mentioning practicing the divot forward in tour stance but can you confirm that when you're using the bounce you hit the turf first and let the club glide under the ball?
August 7, 2017
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Justin. The club will be gliding through the turf, but you still want ball contact first.
November 20, 2017
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Michael
I really like this video but most of the courses have heavy rough that may have to navigate first. Can you tell me where I can see a video of this type of shot with varying yardages from heavy lies.
September 3, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Michael. Heavy lies will be in the Wedge Play section and uneven in the Specialty Shots section.
September 4, 2016
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Jeff
I found the title of this video a bit misleading. A better title, it seems, From 30 yds Chip, Don't Pitch. But the information is spot on. Interestingly, I find that few instructors advocate using a pitching wedge for anything besides a full shot. When I was young all there was was a pitching wedge which I used for everything, unless I needed quick loft or I was in the sand. I wore a hole in my pitching wedge. I think people don't use pitching wedges for short game because the sole on most pitching wedges are designed for full shots, unless you have a player's club or you get something like a 48 degree off the wedge rack.
June 21, 2016
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Micah (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Jeff. it's always easier to predict a balls path traveling on the ground than it is in the air. I'm with you on the pitching wedge. A lot of amateurs think that just because they are close to the hole, they need to use high loft. Using a lower lofted club makes working the greens almost effortless and it really becomes and putt with loft.
October 8, 2016
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Emil
I would like to ask you for an article/video on the usage of chip, pitch and wedge shots - depending on distance and others conditions.
April 25, 2016
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Emil. Take a look at the Chipping Section. You will see the Ladder Drill for Distance and How to Chip Club Selection. I will let the team know you would like an all encompassing video. Pitch Shots will typically be 30 to 50 yards. Wedge shots around 60 to 120.
April 25, 2016
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Emil
Thanks. Looking forward to the video/article.
April 25, 2016
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Loran
If I have about seventy yards or so to the pin and I want the ball to land softly on the green, which club do I use?
May 21, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Loan. Typically, a higher lofted wedge around 58 to 60 Degrees.
May 21, 2015
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Greg
Does Chuck have dorsi flexion with the left wrist in this shot with the left hand on the follow through or is the release abrupt but similar to the full swing release?
April 12, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Greg. It depends on which one you are referring too. If you want to loft it a bit more with a touch of spin. The release will tend to have more dorsi flexion. The fairway wood or bump/run will tend to keep the lead wrist more quiet and on the rotational side versus adding cupping.
April 14, 2015
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Christian
Those are great suggestions for that type of situation. I have seen people take out their wedges and try to fly it there, where I am more of a bump and run guy. I will need to practice my hybrid.
February 12, 2015
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Keeping it on the ground can eliminate a lot of variables that can go wrong in the short pitch. A lot easier to hole them out more frequently too.
February 13, 2015
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Robert
All Videos for the past several weeks will not play properly. all of them pause multiple times maybe 50 throughout each video and the screen freezes. Any suggestions
December 19, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Robert. Are you using Chrome or Firefox as your browser? If you are, try clearing your cookies or history. If you continue to struggle with the issue. Please use the link below for Customer Support. They will be happy to help.
December 20, 2014
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ron
Chuck - I have developed a bad case of the pitching yips. I have gone from an excellent short game to stumping short pitch shots, blading, shanking and even double hitting some pitch shots. I can make good contact when using only one hand, either left or right, (I am right handed), but when I have two hands on the club I am a mess. Help!!!!!
September 27, 2014
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Craig (Certified RST Instructor)
Hello Ron. Keep using the lead hand (left hand). You are more than likely forcing body motion and/or flipping it with the right. Take a look at the Proper Pitch Technique Video in this Section. You want it nice and balanced. Get a good lead arm swing and barely use the trail side.
September 27, 2014
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mike
Why should a person use a seven iron instead of a 60 degree wedge? I watched the how to hit proper wedge shots video and it talks about using a 60 degree wedge and getting underneath the ball. Isn't this shot in the range of a typical pitch shot around the green? Does it all depend on the lie and how short the grass is?
April 11, 2014
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Chris (Certified RST Instructor)
Hey Mike, every shot can be just a bit different and can be dependent on what sort of conditions you are facing. We outline a series of shots on here so that you can increase the total number of shots you have available for each shot so that you can get the ball up and in more frequently.
April 14, 2014

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