Do You Want to Know the Principles of Accurate Chipping?
'No matter how bad you are playing, it is always possible to play worse.'
What do pro golfers Jose Maria Olazabal, Tiger Woods, and Sergio Garcia all have in common? Answer: They don’t hit into trouble often, but when they do, their short games save them, and accurate chipping is one of the most potent weapons in their short game. In fact, most players with low golf handicaps can do this accurately.
This shot is one of the easiest shots to learn in golf. It’s also one of the most crucial. In medal play, accurate chipping can save you one or two strokes on a hole, sometimes more. In match play, it can be the difference between winning or losing a hole or a match. And in player rankings, it’s often what separates players with high golf handicaps from those with low ones.
Confidence, experience, and imagination all contribute to accurate chipping. But so does good technique.
Below are 6 tips to accurate chipping:
1. Decide on a landing spot
2. Use a one-piece takeaway
3. Maintain weight on front side
4. Keep hands ahead of club head
5. Hold the club head
6. Accelerate the club through the ball
Professional golfers play a wide variety of shots around the green. One player may use a sand wedge to chip with from a certain spot, while another hits a 9 iron from the same spot. Regardless of what club they use, they all pick out a landing spot before hitting the ball, which they play
off their left heel.
Picking a landing spot is imperative so is using a one-piece takeaway. In fact, it’s as important in this shot as it is in driving. Since the shot is hit mostly with your arms and hands, it requires little or no weight transfer, so place your weight on your front side and keep it there. Also, keep your head still when hitting the ball.
The backswing is important as well. The length determines the length of the shot— the longer the backswing, the longer the shot. Be mindful of your backswing when you play this type of stroke. Take the club back smoothly and slowly, allowing your wrists to hinge naturally.
When committing to the downswing, make sure your hands stay ahead of the club head to ensure crisp ball-before-turf contact. The objective is to slide the blade of the club head under the ball, taking only a sliver of turf in the process.
Also, don’t allow your right hand to cross over your left through impact. Known as “holding the club head,” the technique keeps the clubface open, creating a high shot that lands softly on the ground.
Finish the stroke in balance and with your hands slightly higher than the height of your backswing. Doing so indicates that you have accelerated the club head through the ball. The motion is similar to throwing a ball underhanded.
Change the Club Drill
The change-the-club drill is an excellent exercise for practicing these shots. It simulates hitting from the fringe of the green or fairway when your landing spot is about 3 feet away, but the ball needs to roll about 15 feet or more. The idea is to hit various clubs with the same motion to learn reaction and distance. It’s a golf lesson in itself.
Choose a green that’s a challenge. Maybe it has some valleys in it or maybe a significant side slope. Then pick a spot about five feet off the green and drop a ball. Set one club about two and a half feet behind the ball and another club about two and a half feet in front of the ball to give you an idea of distance. With the identical motion hit chip shots with each of four clubs—the sand wedge, 9, 7, and 5 irons.
After hitting the ball you’ll notice that the ball runs further as the clubs get lower and lower. Pick the club that will land the ball about two to three feet on the green and run the rest of the way to the hole. Remember to factor in slope and/or the speed of the green when selecting a club.
Using different clubs will give you a better feel for which club runs the ball farther and which lands softly and stops, making club selection somewhat easier next time you play.
Keep practicing this drill until can get within a foot of the pin every time. By then, you should start seeing the benefits of accurate chipping not only in better scores but also in a lower golf handicap. And that will keep you practicing for better results.
Return from Accurate Chipping to Golf
Return to Open-Mind-Publishing Home Page