After all this time, it is still very common for golfers to hit two or three great shots to the green, and then take four more shots to get the ball in the hole. Yet, there is little time spent on practicing this part of the game. If people were content with this pattern, I wouldn’t comment at all! But I see many people who are frustrated. Just a little time spent on the short game would help improve both the mood and the scores.
Find two or three clubs in your bag to use as your short game tools. A 7 or 8 iron for a low, running shot, a Pitching Wedge for a medium trajectory, and a Sand Wedge or Lob Wedge for a high shot (pitch) that doesn’t roll much.
Chipping Mechanics Review:
Here’s my take on the set-up and motion (and I’m speaking in right-hander language- sorry, lefties)
· Make your stance narrower than hip-width (to decrease side-to-side movement)
· Have a slightly open stance, left foot back a couple of inches (but shoulders square)
· Weight on left (60% or 70%), I like the ball in the middle (can be 1” back, but keep it consistent)
· Maintain the “y” position: the big stick is shaft and left arm a straight line at address, impact and follow through, the little stick is the right arm
· The motion is a “mini-swing” or a portion of the swing, so everything goes together: turn, arms and wrist hinge*, not just one or two of these. The most common mistake is to have your arms going back and to have no turn. Under pressure, this leads to the chunked shot.
Tip: First thing, check the lie. The lie can make you tighten up with worry, if the ball is sitting down or if its position makes your stance awkward. Find your footing, relax your shoulders so that your turn happens- we will tend to not turn if we have tension. If everything is going together, in an unhurried fashion, the shot will work out- even if it’s not 100% perfect. Yay!
Check point: The “toe-up” position in first half of the take-away is your key to the clubface position (proper loft) at impact. Your chip may not require your swing to get as far as toe-up, but the club should be on its way to toe-up (not hooded, or shut).
· Look at lie (ball sitting) and stance (slope) first
· Check these: wet/soft or dry/firm surface? wind? carry and roll required into the hole
· Picture tossing, to a spot, with the exact trajectory you need, and see the ball go in
Have fun lowering your scores!
*Wrist hinge is required for pitches with high lofted clubs: bigger carry, bigger turn, arm swing and wrist hinge simultaneously