The Basic Chip Shot
I’m a believer that golf should be learned from the hole backward. Or if you’ve been playing a while, consider working to improve your scoring from the hole backward. If you can’t putt very well, all your other skills will be somewhat wasted, right? I’ve written a few posts about putting, and hopefully you all have enjoyed them. Today, it’s about chipping, but let’s get there by working from the hole backwards.
On short putts, the most reliable technique is a simple back-and-through stroke, with no hand movement at all. As putts get longer, you find that there will be a very slight hinging of the wrists at the end of the backstroke, and a little “release” through impact. That allows you to have a natural action with a light grip.
When the ball is off the putting surface, and you face a basic chip, think of it as a long putt, but with a different club. Here are my basics:
And finally, to give yourself the best chance at touch and speed control, pick out the exact spot you want the ball to land . . . and then forget the hole! Focus intently on this landing spot. Your natural eye hand coordination will register on where you are looking, and if you are looking at the hole, you will fly the ball too far and hit your chips long more often than not.
So, there is my guide to a good chipping technique. For those of you who have limited golf season left, go down to the carpet store and get a piece of scrap and order some Almost Golf balls, or set up a net in your garage and practice this. Your scores will improve dramatically for next season.
I’ll be addressing a reader question Tuesday, and giving away another EIDOLON wedge to the winning questioner, so send in your questions via the link below. And next Friday, I’m going to cover the basic pitch shot.
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i wish i had confidence to use my irons for pitch shots. even my pw makes me think its gonna go too fast and roll off green.
I am one of "those golfers" who only uses a lob wedge to chip. And I'm not a very "good" golfer, but my chipping is always commented on for getting it close. I love how soft my ball comes down, and I have gotten great at predicting my release distances with different swings. The only reason I score well on some holes is because I get it up&down a lot thanks to my chipping.
Before I used a LW I would almost always use a 7 iron, but as soon as I started using my LW I started getting the ball much closer.
Bryan K says:
I must admit, having a lob wedge and having good control of it leads me use it a lot more than I should. In fact, if I'm more than 25 yards from the hole, I use my lob wedge period. Inside of 25 yards, I have too much of a tendency to fluff my lob wedge, and I have to use a standard chip shot. I average 1.8 putts after chip. In my eyes, one should expect a 1-putt after a chip. I take too many two putts after chipping, and that's a spot in my game that sorely needs to be improved.
Of course, if I'd just hit the green in the first place, I wouldn't have to worry about it...right?
I have spent most of my practice time over the latter half of this summer working on my chipping. Yes, it's better than what it was, but it still has so far to go. I feel comfortable chipping with any iron in my bag. However, that doesn't mean I'm good at it.
I start my chips with a little forward press. Good idea?
ROB SANDERS says:
Excellent article. Simple yet enough detail to get all the points across.
@windowsurfer - Absolutely, a forward press is a good key to starting the process. Also, this will help get the hands ahead of the ball.
Terry - In reference to the natural hanging left arm; when I do this my left hand is about in the middle of my left thigh (crease of the pants; so are you saying that's where the club handle starts with the clubhead behind the ball providing the forwrd press? This then means my right hand/arm is brought forward to the handle. Correct?
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