Chip­ping to the green

Isis Town and Country - - Sport - – Paul McCar­ragher

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.

PHOTO: JODIE DIXON

KEY PLAY: Chip­ping on to the green is a vi­tal part of the game.

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