Chipping can help you save a lot of strokes

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If you are a golfer like me that does not hit greens in regulation and always seems to have a chip shot on to the green to try and save par, well I did us both a favor and found some more tips to help that chipping game. Hopefully these will help us save some strokes.

Don’t help
The worse thing I do is I always try to help the ball into the air on my chip shots. I do this a lot when I have a chip shot over a bunker or a hazard to try and get on the green. I try to scoop the ball into the air so that I can clear the hazard. It is just a bad instinct. What I need to do is just trust my sand wedge or lob wedge. It has the loft to get the ball in the air and over the hazard without needing my help.

Lee Westwood chipped in for an eagle three at the 15th. AFP PHOTO

Next time you have this shot, play the ball like you normally would on an iron shot from the fairway. Except this time, open the club face a little bit and make an aggressive swing at the ball sliding the wedge under the ball and be sure to keep your swing going and finishing about shoulder height. This will make the ball pop high into the air but still come down for a soft landing all because you already have enough loft on your wedge to do the job. You don’t need to do anything extra to try and lift the ball yourself. If you do that, you will see my usual result of either blading it over the green or chunking it into the sand trap and taking three shots to get out.

It can be tricky
The hardest shot, in my opinion, is chipping on to a green that is running downhill toward the hole. I tend to do a bump-and-run chip shot most of the time. A bump-and-run is where you chip the ball low to the ground and let the ball use its speed to reach the hole. Well, on a downhill putt, this is a horrible thing to do. Trust me, I know from a lot of experience. What I have finally learned, and will be doing from now on, is that I need to use a flop shot in this situation.


I will open the club face much like I did on the chip shot over the bunker, but this time, I will only take a shorter swing because I do not want the ball flying a longer distance. I want to make sure the ball pops up in the air and lands just on the edge of the green so that it lands and rolls at a very slow pace towards the hole using the slope of the green to carry it. I am reading that it is an incredibly difficult shot so I am going to practice it quite a bit before I attempt it. Hopefully it will save me from 3-putting.

Watch your feet
I like to stand with my feet together on those short chip shots and now I am finally realizing that can be a main reason why I stink at chipping so bad. Standing with your feet close together causes an unbalanced shot and the result I often get. The most important thing in the chip shot is balance. Set up with your feet apart and make sure you feel that balance before you take a swing at the ball.

Put all of your weight on your front foot and just use your arms to make the swing. Be careful to not shift your weight back and forth or you could see a poor shot. Act like your arms are a pendulum using your shoulders to swing with straight arms and stiff wrists. You will find more balance this way.

Be careful of your lie
I absolutely hate chipping from a tight lie with little grass under the ball. It just doesn’t give me enough room for error and I need a lot of room for error. I like chipping out of the rough for two reasons; it gives me some room to get under the ball, and that is where I spend most of my time anyway. But this tip is about shipping from a tight lie.

When chipping from a tight lie, do not open up your club face. If you do, you usually hit the ground before you hit the ball and that is never good. Keep your club face square and make a shallow back and forth swing as if you are putting. This should allow you to catch the back of the ball helping it land on the green and roll right up to the cup.

Putt with your sand wedge
I know what you are saying, “Hey Jake, I thought this was about chipping not putting.” Well this drill will help you with both. Go to the practice green and take your sand wedge to putt with. This will do two things. First, it will teach you to hold the club perfectly square in order to hit the ball well enough to make it go straight in turn helping your putting game. It will cause you to hold your putter perfectly square in order to get the best stroke on the greens.

Secondly, it will help you when you are chipping from the fridge of the green. Using your sand wedge in that situation is the best option because you will avoid dragging your putter through the grass causing a miss hit. But be sure to use a traditional putting stroke in both of these cases, I think you will be happy with the results.

TNS

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