The Dead Arm, Low Spin Pitch Shot

Published:

Golf World

The 100-yard pitch shot has always been associated with backspin, and yet the hard thing with this shot is to get the ball back to the pin. That’s why the most effective pitch takes backspin off the ball, allowing it to pitch and move forwards. Here’s how to play it.

Club: Any wedge
Rhythm: Quiet
Key concept: hit forwards, not down

Set-up

Set-up

Stay square, and narrow the stance to encourage rotation

Stance width

As your stance gets narrower, you boost your ability to turn but restrict lateral movement. That’s ideal on this shot; the extra rotation helps you shallow the arc, while you don’t need power from lateral movement and weight shift.

Aim

Keep your shoulders square, but pull back your left or front foot a touch to pre-set some throughswing rotation. Without the momentum of a full swing to rotate your left side out of the way, it’s quite easy for your left side to get stuck and ‘block’ the throughswing.

Ball position

Play the ball under your shirt buttons to promote a level, forward hit. That gives the wedge a slight lean forward, as the manufacturer designed it.

1

As your backswing takes shape, aim to create more body turn and less arm travel.

As your backswing takes shape, aim to create more body turn and less arm travel. Your narrow stance will help you here. As with all shots where you want to take spin off the ball, keep the wrist action to a minimum and keep the overall action smooth.

2

This shot gets called a ‘dead-arm’ pitch for a good reason; your arms are just passengers through the ball, responding to the body-driven swing momentum.

This shot gets called a ‘dead-arm’ pitch for a good reason; your arms are just passengers through the ball, responding to the body-driven swing momentum. You are still looking to take a divot, but the more level strike this creates means it should be minimal.

3

At the finish your chest faces the target, showing your upper half has continued to rotate right through to the end.

At the finish your chest faces the target, showing your upper half has continued to rotate right through to the end. Your hands should be in front of it, an indicator that arm motion has not taken place independent of the body turn.

Role Model | Tiger Woods