In golf, chipping is probably one of the more – less glamorous shots that you come in contact with on a regular basis yet it is one of the most important areas of competency when it comes to shaving strokes off your game.
You’ll struggle mightily to find a lower handicap golfer that isn’t a good chipper of the golf ball. It’s curious irony to me when I see and work with mid to higher handicappers that spend so little time on improving their merit around the greens. If this description fits you, think about it for a moment… by definition higher handicap golfers are not going to hit the greens as often and as such they are going to leave themselves with chip shots much more often. So why not spend some time getting better at chipping and immediately start taking strokes off your game.
I can tell you unequivocally, that if you are a higher handicap golfer, spending some time to improve you chipping skills will save you at least one to two strokes per hole… now that’s some serious scoring… wouldn’t you agree?
Much of chipping around the green is confidence and with practice your confidence will improve along with your chipping so it has a snowballing effect.
Let’s take a look at a few elements of chipping that will get you going in the right direction and on you way to lowering your golf score.
First of all, select the right tool for the job. One problem or mind set that many get in to is that; if I’m around the green and am going to chip … I use my pitching or sand wedge. If this is you, I want you to learn to select the proper club for the shot that is required.
Actually let me back up slightly… first evaluate the shot and where you want the ball to land… then get the club out that is going to do that job best for you. These first two items are your approach the chip shot that you have in front of you.
If you’re not sure about what club imparts what type of behavior on the golf ball, just try different clubs and shots around the practice green… work to get comfortable with several different clubs and approaches to your chipping.
The physical aspects of chipping are very straight forward.
You want to keep your hands slightly ahead of the clubhead… both in your set up and as your hands and club pass through the impact zone.
Press your weigh slightly forward during your set up and keep your weight pressed slightly forward throughout your chipping motion.
Use a one piece take-a-way and motion. This is a biggie with higher handicappers… they tend to get ‘flippie’ with their hands. When this happens the tendency is for the club head to begin to accelerate past the hands (a bad thing) and the result is the club either ‘chunks’ behind the ball or you hit the dreaded blade shot clear across the green.
Never decelerate the club as you come into the hitting zone. Confidence plays a big part in this for people who aren’t good chippers. In order to get yourself to consistently accelerate through the shot; when you are practicing, initially don’t worry so much about a precise target and if you are going fly the ball too far past. Just work on a smooth chipping motion making good contact each and every time. We’ll work on distance control once you master the motion.
I’ve gotten a bit long here and I still want to cover a bit more on the swing, club selection for you, as well as some drills; but for now, just get yourself out there and work on these few basics and making good consistent contact and I’ll be back with soon and we will continue our work on lower your score by getting the ball much closer to the hole with your chipping game.
Until next time… remember – practice makes permanent.