Short Game

How to put spin on your pitch shots, according to a PGA Tour pro

billy horschel hits a chip shot during the 2023 zurich classic

In today's edition of Play Smart, Billy Horschel walks us through the steps for putting spin on your shots around the greens.

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Welcome to Play Smart, a regular game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.

Everyone knows that one of the coolest shots pros hit are those greenside pitches that spin and stop on a dime — and it’s especially fun to see just how easy the pros make it look.

To the untrained eye, it doesn’t seem as though pros do anything special to make the ball spin. They just kind of step up and hit it. But as any weekend warrior who’s tried these shots knows, they aren’t that easy. Maybe that’s why these shots are so tantalizing for recreational players — because it looks so simple yet it feels entirely unattainable. We all want what we can’t have, right?

But that doesn’t mean they’re impossible. All you need to do is make a few tweaks to your approach.

How to hit a spinny pitch

First and foremost, you’ve got to nail the setup to put spin on your pitch shots. You can’t use a standard setup and expect to get tons of spin. As PGA Tour pro Billy Horschel explains in the video above, you’re going to want to open up the face of your wedge for the best results.

“A lot of times when I see amateurs, they don’t have the face open enough,” Horschel says. “They have it way too square and they try to help the ball into the air.”

When you’re trying to help the ball in the air, you’re not going to get the proper contact you need to generate spin. But when you open the face up, it guarantees that the ball is going to come out higher.

When you’re making your swing, the goal is simple: engage the bounce on the turf. You want to allow the backside of your wedge to thump on the ground when you make contact.

“Don’t be afraid to hit the ground,” Horschel says. “When you hit the ground, you can feel that bounce like I was talking about.”

Now all you need to do is focus on making solid, ball-first contact with a little bit of speed. If you do that, the ball should come out with plenty of spin and stop on a dime when it hits the green.

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