Chipping to the green
SO, LET’S see, you have managed to have a good drive, keeping the ball not only on the fairway but in the middle, you have used your fairway wood to good effect, also getting distance and the ball in the centre of the fairway, you have used your irons to go for the green but just fallen a bit short. So what do you do next?
The key to chipping is the set-up. Creating the right positions at address is essential:
You want your stance to be narrow, about 12 inches from heel to heel, and open – pull your left foot back from the target line.
Your shoulders should be open to the target, as well.
Place about 80 per cent of your weight on your left side.
Move your hands ahead of the ball to encourage the downward strike that you need to make solid contact with the ball.
Place the ball on a line about two inches to the left of your right big toe.
During your stroke, focus on the back of your left wrist. Your left wrist must stay flat and firm, as in putting.
To keep your wrist flat, tape a pen to the back of that wrist (slipping the pen under your watchband works almost as well). You’ll feel any breakdowns right away.
Use your hands, arms and shoulders all at the same time to start the back swing. If you do this well you will maintain your triangle.
Try to keep your lower body relaxed. If you do, then you will feel a little turning of your hips. This is good! It is the key difference between chipping and putting.
Your weight should not move. Make sure you keep your weight leaning on your left foot.
Notice how you can see the club face. This means that my arms and wrists are relaxed. When you are relaxed you will have better feel with the club. It will also rotate the way it is supposed to.
If you squeeze too hard and are tense, the club face will still be pointed at the ground. If the club faces the ground most of your chips will fly too low and go left of your target.
Start your action back towards the ball by keeping everything in rhythm. This means your hips, arms, shoulders and hands all move together.
Start your hips turning back towards the target, but make sure your hands and arms follow along for the ride. If you separate the motion and leave something behind, you have a hard time hitting great chip shots.
Keep your weight exactly where it started ... on your left foot. You put it there in your address so that it was pre-set for impact.
Make sure you don’t change it. This will help you return the club back to the ball for solid contact.
Keep your left wrist flat. This is the part of the stroke where it becomes tempting to hit the shot with your hands and not your whole body.
If you do, your left wrist will break down and bend so that the club head gets ahead of your hands.
This leads to very poor contact.
Keep your left wrist flat throughout the shot and your club will never pass your hands.
Your club will then end up in line with your hands and arms, but never flip past them. Impact and the address positions are almost the same.
Your hands must be ahead of your club at impact. Your weight still has not moved. It is exactly the same as it was at address.
KEY PLAY: Chipping on to the green is a vital part of the game.