By Ian Donaldson

CHIP SHOT

One of the most important assets that you can have for lowering your score is to improve your chipping. When you begin to feel the correct distance and select the right club for the shot in hand, your shot consistency will improve rapidly and you will save at least 5 shots a round. Despite these potential benefits, chipping is probably the least practiced and most neglected part of most players’ golf game. Here are some tips on the chip shot.

For the majority of your chip shots, you should not hit down hard on the ball or put spin on it. If you meet the ball with a square clubface, you will make a solid contact with the ball, resulting in obtaining a consistent distance from each club. Just let the face of the club do it’s job and the consistency you gain will result in much better results.

Avoid closing the face to make the ball run more, or opening the face to make it pop up as these are riskier options as they will impart more spin on the ball. As I mentioned we are aiming for consistency, so the less spin on the ball, the more consistency you will achieve.

With that in mind, your club selection is as important as the execution of the chip shot. Try to always putt from off of the green if at all possible. The old saying is – The worst putt is better than the worst chip. You can use anything from a wedge to a 5 iron, depending on the lie and circumstances. Don’t just use one single club for chipping as there are too many different types of chip shot you must learn to play to restrict yourself to only one. By varying your club selection you add more shots to your repertoire that will cover every possibility.

The Basic Chip Shot

Hands set ahead of the clubhead

The fundamental mechanic of the basic chip shot is addressing the ball with the majority of your weight on your left foot with your hands ahead of the clubhead. This will enable you to accelerate the clubhead into the ball on a descending blow.

Keep your hands ahead of the ball but don’t push them too far forward. The middle of your stance is about right so that the hands can lead the clubhead into the ball, which allows you to strike the ball before the ground. If the lie is poor, position the ball even farther back to make a more descending blow.

Your feet and body should be aligned open to the target, about 10 to 20 degrees, which will put you in a position to swing the club straight out toward the hole with firm wrists.

Choke down for consistency

You should grip down on the club you are chipping with for greater control, about half way down to the steel. Ensure that you grip down the shaft to the same spot on any club you use to get the same feeling from one club to the next.

Gently brush the grass

When you are set up correctly, your chipping stroke should gently brush the grass. Ground your club gently so that the full weight of the club is not on the ground and swing back and forth to become familiar with the feeling of just brushing the grass. This will help you when playing shots as you will make solid contact, just sweeping the ball away.

Let the right knee go to the target

A good technique to make the basic chip shot easier is to start the forward swing with the right knee. Start by swinging your arms back, then just move your right knee towards the target, rolling it to the inside of your right foot. There is not a great deal of leg action in a chip shot, but the small movement gives some flow to the shot. This slight movement, triggers the forward swing which allows the hands to stay ahead of the clubhead through impact, eliminating the tendency to hit too soon with your right hand which normally results in a fat or thin shot.

I hope you find these tips useful. Chipping and the short game in general is often neglected by the majority of golfers. Time spent on this part of your game will help you lower your scores by at least 5 shots per round. Set aside some time to become a more consistent chipper of the ball and watch those scores tumble.

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