Contrary to the popular notion, most of the pros don't use much wrist cock in playing their short pitches. For myself, though, I find I hit the ball sharpest and control it best if I use lots of wrist and hand action on this type of shot, with the hands completely uncocked at impact. I play the ball two inches forward of the right heel. This requires "early timing," and a golfer probably is best off to start by playing this shot off the middle and then to move the ball back when his (or her) timing develops. My reason for advocating this method is this: the lowest part of the swing occurs at the center of the stance; in order to hit the ball first, the turf after, you have to place the ball back.
In lining up the short pitch, I lay the blade open, very slightly. I stand with my left shoulder held high, so that it is free to do its work. (I also have the feeling that my left elbow is high at address.) I start the club back with my left shoulder and arm, and halfway through the backswing I begin cocking my wrists. On this shot I allow for a little roll. For example, on a 40-yard pitch I try to gauge the shot so that the ball will land about 12 feet short of the hole.
from MARLENE BAUER HAGGE, Delray Beach, Fla.
NEXT WEEK: Bobby Cruickshank on avoiding the death grip