Hitting greens in regulation is the number 1 objective in golf if you want to lower your scores. Unfortunately we normally end up with a lot more chip shots than hitting GIRs. So chipping close to the hole for a one putt is really the most important shot for recreational golfers. Patrick Reed took an early lead in the US Open by chipping it close and then making a lot of 1 putt greens. Stabbing your wedge at the ball is NOT a good solution. You need to finish with hip rotation.
Clay Ballard at Top Speed Golf highlighted the setup and swing needed to avoid fat chips or worm burner bladed chips in a recent blog. NOTHING can mess-up a hole worse than a simple short chip. When the pressure is on you may go into a yip mode. With the proper setup and rotating finish you can break out of your missed chips.
1) Narrow Your Foot Separation and Open Your Stance: Keep your feet about 8 inches apart. When your feet are too far apart, it can cause you to be too rigid during the swing, and if they’re too close it can create issues with your balance. A chip is a simple rocking back and through (like a putt), but you want to be loose. Having your feet closer together also allows for a better ball position at the bottom of your swing arc.
2) Ball Position: You want the ball to be “directly under your lead ear”. That’s the natural low point of your swing (where your club grounds out). By having the ball under your lead ear, you’ll naturally be hitting the ball just before the club hits the ground. It helps you hit your ball first. NOTE: Other pros recommend more weight on your leading foot and lining the ball up with your trailing ear. Why not try both and sort out what’s best for you?
3) Shaft Lean: Setup with your shaft pointing up to your leading shoulder. This will also force you to keep more pressure on your leading foot during setup and throughout your chip. You want to impact the ball before you skim the turf.
4/ Flat Leading wrist: A flat leading wrist with a cupped trailing wrist will allow you to swing down into the ball and direct your swing in a straight line toward your target. You should practice chipping by wearing GOLFSTR+ to keep your leading wrist flat and then you can practice limiting the bend in your trailing wrist by fitting the shape of GOLFSTR+ on your trailing wrist.
You will never be a consistently good chipper until you build confidence by practicing your chipping motion and finishing your swing facing your belt buckle at your target. You should also test different lofted clubs to understand how far your chip will fly and roll out on the green with each club and different amount of backswing. Choose your line and make sure you swing to impact the ball on the dead center of your club face. Keep your eye on the ball until after impact.
You will never be a great chipper unless you practice to scoop your chips. GOLFSTR+ is a great training aid to help you get there. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Golf Truism #26: Confidence evaporates in the presence of fairway water.