Many golfers become nervous when asked to play shots over water and the pitch shot is one which can lead to a great deal of anxiety. You may even be faced with a pitch shot over water which requires less than a full swing and that can add to the tension.
However, the best way to approach a pitch shot over water is to begin by turning your attention to the target. You do not intend to hit the ball into the water so why allow it take up prime position in your thoughts? The first thing you should look at when approaching a pitch shot over any hazard is the target you are aiming for on the green.
Many beginner golfers will hit the ball where they first focused their attention so try and make a conscious effort as you approach the ball to keep your eyes on the green and where you would like the ball to land.
When playing a pitch shot over water, try and hit down on the ball. It is tempting to try and scoop the ball into the air because you need to get it over the water but that will most likely result in a topped shot, which will see the ball travel into the water.
If you want the ball to rise, you need to allow the loft of the club to do the work and that means hitting down on the ball.
Having decided where you would like to land the ball on the green, you may need to take a little off the shot and therefore will not be afforded a full swing. However, instead of playing the shot with a shorter swing, try gripping down on the club. Doing this will allow you to control the distance of the shot without having to take something off your swing.
Do not stop turning through the shot, regardless of the distance you may need to hit the ball. Keep your body turning throughout the shot and do not be afraid of doing so. Stopping or slowing down half way through will only lead to a topped or fat shot.
Finally, make the most of your practice swings when pitching over water. Think about each swing and where you want the ball to land. Do not swing for the sake of it and step up to the ball hoping for the best. When you step up to play the shot, you should be attempting to replicate your final practice swing as this is the one which will get the ball on target.