Today’s topic is chipping. Strictly speaking, a chip shot is one played very close to the green and spends most of its time rolling on the green like a putt. We teach chipping in three steps:
- Good Technique = Consistent Contact
- Consistent Contact allows you to learn feel for distance through the air
- Practice teaches you which club to use for different amounts of roll
We have all hit chip shots when we hit well behind the ball and the ball goes only a few feet. We have also hit the ball near the equator and watched in horror as the ball goes zipping across the green. To become a good chipper it is imperative to have the ability to consistently strike the ball solidly. To accomplish this we need a good set and a solid chipping stroke.
Our set up should discourage excess lower body motion and promote a descending blow on the ball.
- To limit lower body movement, position your feet closer together, and bring your front foot back slightly away from the target line. This is called opening your stance and it will help allow your follow through to happen more naturally.
- Stand more upright and closer to the ball. Do not bend too much at the hips or with your knees.
- The position of the ball will be between your back foot and the middle of your stance.
- Position your hands in the middle of your grip (choking down). This will bring you closer to the ball and will also give you more control over the clubhead.
- Your hands will be slightly ahead of the ball.
- You should have more weight on your front foot than your back (60% front – 40% back).
Now that you are in a good set up position, your stroke should be like a putting stroke. It should be an arm and shoulder pendulum motion. There should be very little wrist hinging. The loft of the club we choose will determine how high the ball flies, so we do not have to chop at the ball or help the ball up with our wrists. By using this set up you should hit the ball solidly on a more consistent basis.
Once you can achieve solid contact most of the time you can learn to control the distance your ball flies with each club by changing the length of your stroke. This skill will allow you to land the ball where you want, on the green whenever possible.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT CLUB
In order to determine what club to use you must decide how much you want the ball to roll after it lands. The best thing to do is take your Wedge and your 7 iron and hit it from the same area and try to land them in the same spot. What you will see is that the 7-iron will will not go as high in the air and will run a lot further than the the wedge. As you practice this shot, try using your 8 and 9 iron as well. In time you will know how much roll each club will give you.
Remember to always plan the type of shot you are going to play, don’t just step up and hit the ball without visualizing how much roll you want. Your target is the spot you want the ball to land, not the hole. The sooner the ball gets on the green, the better. Try to land it 2 – 3 feet onto the green whenever possible.
With a little bit of practice around a chipping green, you can quickly become a good chipper. When you are a good chipper your scores will go down and your fun will go up!
I hope this helps your chipping game and those up and downs start happening all the time. Let me know if this article was helpful for you. Good Luck!!