A good chip, or series of them during a round, can be the difference between saving plenty of shots or shooting a really high score.
A good chip, or series of them during a round, can be the difference between saving plenty of shots or shooting a really high score. Good technique and imagination will assist you to accomplish this goal. Here is a set-up routine, chipping action tip and drill you can use to improve your short game and, ultimately, lower your scores.
Firstly, position your ball just behind the centre of a narrowed stance. Now open your left foot (for right-handers) slightly toward the target and distribute your weight approximately 70/30 percent on your front side.
The distance you should stand from the ball is approximately the length of the grip on your club. This promotes the club to travel more straight back and through rather than travelling in a large arc.
Position your hands at the bottom of the grip and push your hands toward the target until the shaft of the club becomes an extension of your front arm (pic 1 left, below). The butt end of the club should point just past your left hip if you have positioned the club correctly.
THE CHIP SHOT
To hit a good chip shot, you must hit down on the ball and not try to lift it into the air. If you keep your arms moving throughout the shot, there is little opportunity for the hands to scoop at the ball. Your arms will lead the clubhead to the ball resulting in a crisp contact.
Keeping the clubhead low to the ground during the follow-through will also promote a good extension (pic 2 above above middle) and better ball contact.
If, however, your arms stop moving or slow down on the way to impact, the hands will rush the club past the arms (pic 3 above right), creating a scoop or flick at the ball and a topped or sculled shot will be the likely result.
Place a club or piece of timber across two witches’ hats or even a stack of bricks. Make a couple of practice swings using the above chipping technique to learn how to do it correctly. Now set up to the ball and hit your chip allowing the loft of the club to elevate the ball over the timber ensuring you brush the ground under the ball in the process. As you hit the shot towards the timber, try and get the feeling that you want to try and hit the ball under the timber. This will encourage you to swing the clubhead through low to the ground and will actually loft the ball over the timber (pic 4 at right).
With just a little bit of practice using this drill your chipping confidence will improve and so will your scoring.
Garry Attrill is a AAA-rated PGA professional and teaching pro at the Thirteenth Beach Golf Academy, at Barwon Heads on Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula. For lessons, call the academy on (03) 5254 2622.