The "Low Chip With Spin"
I received an email from a reader this morning that presented a good topic for today’s post. Hayden says he’s a regular reader and has learned a lot from my posts over the years, but there was a specific shot he wanted to learn how to play.
How do I hit a low chip with a lofted wedge which really grabs and stops when it hits the green? I watch all the pros do this and want to add it to my ‘bag of tricks.’
Well, Hayden, learning to master this shot will take some time, but when you do it will be a good shot to have in your arsenal. To me, this is one of three basic short game shots that every golfer must have in order to score around the greens. The other two are the basic chip or pitch that carries part of the way to the hole and rolls out the rest, and the soft lob shot that has more height and therefore stops quicker.

But today, we’re going to dissect this shot that Hayden mentions. The goal is to have the ball leave the club with maximum spin and a lower ball flight, hit the green with a nice ‘grab’, grab again on the second and third bounce, then end up with very little roll out. Here is how I suggest you learn to hit this shot:
  1. This shot is best hit with a wedge of at least 55* of loft, meaning either your sand or lob wedge.

  2. Your set-up posture should be with feet close together, and the ball back of center of your stance and weight favoring your left/lead side. Your body alignment should be open a little bit, and you should have your hands at least half-way down the grip of the club, if not further. The idea is to “get close to your work.”

  3. At set-up, you should have the hands/grip ahead of the ball, but only slightly so that you do not de-loft the club excessively. Your goal is to copy that relationship of hands ahead of the ball at impact.

  4. The backswing is slow and deliberate, and relatively low. You achieve that by turning the upper body and arms away from the ball together. The hands will rotate going back to keep as few “moving parts” as possible, but you do not want excessive cocking of the wrists on this shot.

  5. Your eyes should be focused on the side of the ball toward the hole to ensure a crisp contact with the ball.

  6. On the downswing, I believe the knees move forward just a bit, and the upper torso brings the arms, hands and club back through the ball. Again, the clubhead has to be the last thing through the impact zone. Knees, sternum, arms, hands and clubhead . . . in that order.

  7. DO NOT GET QUICK. This shot requires you to work with patience and precision. Your focus should be acutely on the front edge of the ball so that your club makes contact with the ball first, then the turf. An “almost lazy” swing pace will deliver the desired results.
So, Hayden, that gives you something to work on this weekend and going forward. Please report back in to us to let us know if this starts getting you closer to the results you are after with this shot, OK?

If any of the rest of you have specific questions you’d like answered or addressed, please send them to me with the link below.
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[ comments ]
DaRupp13 says:
I've also found consciously hit down on the ball almost like you're squishing the ball further into the turf helps get that contact for which you're looking. Because you're taking the club back and not straight up on the back swing, this won't actually happen, but it really helps with Terry's #7.
5/11/12
 
Matt McGee says:
I learned this shot last year, and it is priceless. I find that bringing the leading edge of the club directly into the turf after contact with the ball, rather than swinging with any real follow-through, helps to induce even more back spin. It sounds like this is probably similar to DaRupp's method.
5/11/12
 
Banker85 says:
I have this shot but not nearly as good as the pros do it. DaRupp is right on by saying Hit ting down like you pinching it usually gives good spin. I like this shot from about 20-40 yards. For me tho i cant get the spin to be conssitent, sometimes rolls out sometimes hops and stops and that is cool when its done right! OMG IWANNA GOLF!!!!
5/11/12
 
legitimatebeef says:
Not sure how responsible it is to be recommending this shot to the general readership. Don't you know the oob community is rapidly approaching 32 MILLION STROKES over par??? Most people need to master the basic chip before even THINKING about trying to put spin on short shots IMO.
5/11/12
 
bobhooe says:
I hood the face by getting my hands forward and finish low. try to use my upper body as much as possibe. good balls help too
5/11/12
 
HotBacon says:
Don't forget you'll need a ball with a urethane cover. Surlyn covered balls need not apply.
5/11/12
 
snuffyword says:
What a coincidence that Terry used an "almost lazy" swing pace. I have been working on tempo with my chipping and half pitches by telling myself to make a lazy shot. It has helped in distance control for my landing spot on the greens but I haven't noticed the spin as much.
5/12/12
 
onedollarwed says:
This is the old "under the limb, over the bunker, water beyond" shot. One great feature of this shot is that if you hit it firmly, it will carry the bunker and may even stop. Your percentages go up (unlike an overly "touchy" lob). I can't say that I've been able to put more than 75% of the possible spin on this shot regularly. I think if I can get the required practice it would be great to have the confidence to let this shot rip on narrow or very firm greens.
5/12/12
 
Ianinho says:
Don't think I've ever seen Luke Donald play this shot...pretty much sums it up. It looks good but it is uneccessary. You want spin on high shots to tight pins, not low ones to open pins.

Unless you are scratch or lower, stick to the simple chip and run or pitch.
5/13/12
 
erickbelus says:
I'm not sure he was recommending the shot to the general readership as much as he was answering a specific reader's question. I tried putting this shot in my bag last year, but with a 50-ish percent success rate of the ball stopping, I retired it on the course until I can do it more reliably.
5/13/12
 
Ianinho says:
This is a quote: 'To me, this is one of three basic short game shots that every golfer must have in order to score around the greens'.....so he IS saying everyone should have this shot which is nonsense.
5/14/12
 
erickbelus says:
I guess I glossed that over.
5/14/12
 
Tim Horan says:
@Ianinho - Luke Donald uses this shot most of the time unless he has to fly an obstacle or needs to get it back to an upper tier on the green. It is one of his stock shots. The one that bounces twice and checks up as it is passing the hole. It is not quite as impressive as backing one up twelve feet but can be effected from anywhere 100yds and in whereas the backed up shot cannot be effected under a certain distance.
5/15/12
 
Ianinho says:
Donald doesn't use a spinning low chip for his standard chip. He uses more of a normal height chip that will roll out to the flag, it will have some spin but its not going to bounce twice or three times and stop as the wedge guy is suggesting. Watch this video ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=JV-wYDpevvU ) comparing Phil Mickelson's chipping style to Luke Donald. At the end he says that Donald's chips will go higher, he doesn't mention less spin, but Donald's shots are certainly not low and zipping with spin. For his low chips he simply uses a less lofted club
5/15/12
 
QuickBrownFox says:
Thanks Wedgeguy. I watched Matt Jones hit this shot at the 2010 Australian Open 17th over sand onto a green sloping away into water at the back. As the ball came off the club low there was a loud gasp from the gallery, anticipating like me, the ball shooting off the green into water. Instead, the ball landed, grabbed and trickled down close to the hole. Amazing to watch. I can still see it clearly.
5/16/12
 
QuickBrownFox says:
Gosh, Beef, it sounds a bit elitist to dismiss attempts by hackers like me to improve by adding useful scoring shots to my weaponry.
As you requested Terry, I've got an hour allocated to short game practice this Saturday and a quick 9 on a par three course Sunday, so I'll give this a go. (No doubt lots will be fluffed. But you gotta start somewhere.
5/16/12
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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