Many beginner golfers will try and get their ball as close to the green as possible without thinking about the next shot. Getting the ball close to the green is not always the best choice.
Thinking about what distance you want to leave for your approach to the green and which club you would like to use can allow you to avoid hitting awkward 40-yard pitch shots. However, even the best plans do not always work out and sometimes you will be left with the dreaded 40-yard pitch.
Almost anything can go wrong with this shot, which is what makes it so difficult. Any type of miss is possible from this distance as it is tough to judge and can end up short or going long.
One of the most common mistakes when playing a 40-yard pitch shot is to use the arms too aggressively. If you are playing the shot through your arms, you have little chance of making a great contact.
So, what can you do to give yourself the best chance of making a successful shot?
The first thing to do, is take a nice wide stance and bend your knees a little more at address than you would for a normal shot. Open the face of the club, which should be the most lofted club in your bag and set the ball forward in your stance.
The butt end of the club should feel as though it is behind the ball at this point. If you feel as though your hands are low at address, this is a good thing as it will help to generate the loft required on the ball.
When you start the swing, set your wrists excessively because this will help to achieve the maximum amount of loft from the club.
As the club comes down, through the ball, make sure your bottom hand releases under your top hand. The temptation is to grip tightly because of the fear the ball is going to travel a long way beyond the hole but you must release the bottom hand to ensure the club stays open at impact and produces more loft.
When contacting the ball, it should feel as though the bounce of the club is sliding underneath.
Playing the 40-yard pitch shot is very tricky and takes a lot of practice to play well. Hopefully you will not find yourself in this position very often but when you do, it is good to know you can play the shot with confidence.