I’m not ashamed to admit that the pitching wedge is my favorite golf club in my bag. I’ve holed more shots with the pitching wedge than any other club (aside from the putter). Learning how to hit a pitching wedge is key to becoming a better player.
I’m a teaching pro and a scratch golfer who has played golf for 30 years. I’m always looking to improve my game, even if it is a shot or two here and there. I love testing new strategies on and off the course and studying golf swings to see what works.
To hit a great pitching wedge shot, understand setup and positioning. Keep things simple for success.
How To Hit A Pitching Wedge
I’ll go through the basics of how to hit a pitching wedge in golf.
I’ll walk you through a full swing shot from the center of the fairway to a pin in the middle of the green. Once you get this down, we can move to other types of pitching wedge shots.
Gripping the club
You always want a neutral grip with the pitching wedge. On the lead hand, two knuckles will be visible when holding the golf club and looking down at your hands.
The V formed by your thumb and forefinger of both hands should point to the trail shoulder. (Right shoulder for right-handed golfers)
Make sure your clubface alignment is square and not closed or open. The pitching wedge has plenty of loft; you don’t need to open the clubface for a standard shot like this.
The ball should be in the middle of your stance for standard shots.
Stance & Weight Distributiojn
Put a little extra weight on the lead side when setting up to hit a pitching wedge. You want about 60% of your weight on the lead side and 40% on the trail side.
The forward weight promotes a more descending angle of attack.
The takeaway for a pitching wedge shot is low, slow, and one-piece. When you take the club back, make sure to engage and turn your lower body. As your arms and shoulders start to turn, so does the lower body.
Stay centered over the ball, as you do with all short irons. Don’t forget to turn.
Impact happens with a flat left wrist, weight moved forward to the lead foot, and your head over the ball.
After striking the golf ball, you will take a divot in front of the golf ball. This forward divot proves the ball was hit as your club traveled down, not while it was on the way up.
Pitching Wedge Distance Control
You can adjust the backswing length to control distance on your pitching wedge shots.
When you want to hit a shot that is 75% of the full swing, try a 3/4 golf swing where the club does not get to parallel at the top.
Pro Tip: Some golfers find that a 3/4 swing yields them more distance and control. The concept or feel of a full swing is generally misunderstood and probably longer than it should be. Take some videos of your swing and start to try to learn and feel what 1/2, 3/4, and full look like.
The pitching wedge should be one of the easier golf clubs in your bag to hit. However, some basic issues can still derail a pitching wedge shot.
Distance From The Ball
- Standing too close or too far from the ball impacts swing mechanics. When setting up, ensure your hands are about a fist and a half distance from your lead leg.
Clubface Not Set Squarely
- Stop opening the clubface to get loft and a soft landing. The club head should be set down squarely. The loft, combined with your descending approach, will lift the ball in the air.
Ball Position Too Far Back
- Golfers get into this mindset that the ball has to be further back in the stance because it’s a wedge in their hands. It’s not always true. Play the ball in the middle and narrow your stance if necessary.
Loss of Balance
- Swing within your means. A pitching wedge doesn’t need to fly 150 yards. If you hit 115 or even 100, that’s plenty. Ensure that you balance and center your weight on your feet. Transition your weight to the lead side at impact.
Types of Shots To Hit With A Pitching Wedge (Adjustments To Make)
You can hit a variety of shots with the pitching wedge. It’s why I love this club so much. Make a few adjustments to your swing and set up to ensure you do it properly.
- Full swing: keep the ball in the middle of the stance. Lean on the lead side a bit, and stay more centered and over the ball than you would with a fairway or hybrid.
- Hit It Lower: lean even more weight on the front foot. Move the ball position back a little and have a shorter backswing. Control the follow-through.
- Hit It Higher: play the ball a little more forward in your stance. Setup with weight positioned 50/50. Go for a smoother (wider) swing with a high finish.
- Out of Thick Grass: take the club back a little more upright. Grip it with more strength so it doesn’t slide or turn in your hands.
- Typical Chip Shot: take a narrow stance. Put the ball in the middle-back of your stance. Create a forward shaft, lean at the address, and swing the club like a putter.
When Not To Use A Pitching Wedge?
Knowing when to use the pitching wedge is as important as knowing when not to. When you need height, the pitching wedge is not always your club of choice. The same for when you need high levels of spin.
For instance, let’s say you find yourself 30 yards short of a green and have to hit over a bunker and stop the ball at the pin.
Don’t use the pitching wedge. Instead, use a sand wedge with a little more loft so the ball can stop quickly and even back up.
For full-swing approaches with plenty of spin, the pitching wedge works.
If you are punching out of the woods or trouble and you need to keep the ball low, go with a 7 iron or 6 iron. Stay away from the pitching wedge, as it will get up in the air too fast and be difficult to control.
Where should the ball be when using a pitching wedge?
When using a pitching wedge, place the ball in the center of the stance. Ball determines the trajectory. Move the ball back to lower trajectory. Alternatively, move it forward forward for a higher flight.
How do you hit a pitch shot?
A pitch shot requires using a lofted club. In addition you will need a shoulder-width stance and the ball in the center of it. Place your hands in the center of your body. Finally, take a controlled pace swing with a slight wrist extension at impact. The result will be a higher shot that lands soft on a green.
Can you use pitching wedges for chipping and pitching?
You can use pitching wedges for chipping and pitching. The chip shot with the pitching wedge is a valuable shot in golf. You can repeat it, and it is dependable.
Do you hit a pitching wedge like an iron?
Yes, you should hit your pitching wedge like an irons. Create a downward angle of attack through impact to achieve the best results.
Did this guide give you the details on how to hit a pitching wedge from any location? Trust me on this one: when you feel confident in your pitching wedge, it will lower your score.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments and what worked for you. If you think this information could help one of your golfing friends, please share it with them.
Learning how to hit a pitching wedge will change the way you approach your entire wedge game.