pitch shot is normally used for shooting 30-50 yards onto the green. It’s given the name from the angle (pitch) that the ball is shot at (very steep). The reason for shooting the ball so high is that when it falls, most of the force is in the vertical direction (downward) with very little horizontal velocity so the ball rolls very little after landing. To further prevent it from rolling, a back-spin can be applied to the ball by striking it with some downward force.
In par 3 golf (pitch and putt), the pitch shot is the first shot taken with the intention of landing on the green as close as possible to the hole. Pitch shots are also used in regular golf for getting over water or sand where the hole lies very close to the edge of the green.
Controlling the distance of a pitch shot takes practice. If you think of a line pointing straight away from the end of the Y made by your arms, try to imagine the hour hand position on the clock where your arms start the swing. a 7 o’clock shot will give you less distance than an 8 o’clock shot and an 8 o’clock shot less than a 9 o’clock (parallel to the ground) shot. The wrists will be bent a little more on a pitch shot to help get the downward force at the point of impact. It takes practice but once you get the feel for how far the ball goes for any given clock position of the arms it will be easier to gauge distance for any given swing.
In this video a lady golf student with only three weeks golfing practice demonstrates her pitching swing.
In this video a lady golf student (Amy) with only three weeks golfing practice demonstrates her pitching shot.
Notice Amy’s short swing (between 7 o’clock and 8 o’clock). This is a pitch swing and is quite different from the swing a lady golfer might use when using a driver to get distance.