Hole More Chips

Sim­ple keys for mak­ing solid con­tact ev­ery time.

Golf Digest (Malaysia) - - Contents - BY TODD AN­DER­SON

con­cept set the low point

Solid strikes come from get­ting the low point of the down­swing to hap­pen in the right spot. You want it to be at the ball or slightly in front of it so you hit the ball first, then brush the turf.

Golfers with con­tact prob­lems usu­ally set up poorly. They tilt away from the tar­get be­cause they in­stinc­tively want to help the ball up. Then they push their hips to­ward the tar­get be­cause ev­ery­body says to set the weight for­ward at ad­dress. Th­ese moves drop the right side of the body lower than the left side, which shifts the low point of the swing be­hind the ball. That’s a ma­jor cause of chunks and skulls.

setup level the shoul­ders

For a ba­sic chip, use a 52- to 56-de­gree wedge. Play the ball cen­ter, and get your weight for­ward so your left shoul­der is over your left foot. Your trunk is the heav­i­est part of your body, so that’s what you should move for­ward, not the hips.

Now here’s the key: Grip with your right hand first, keep­ing your right arm straight. The right shoul­der should feel high. What you’re do­ing is measuring the dis­tance to the ball with your right arm. Most peo­ple do it with the left arm, and when the right arm straight­ens com­ing down, the club hits the ground too soon. Fi­nally, add your left hand, feel­ing like your shoul­ders are level.

See the pho­tos above. In the “no” setup, I’m tipped back. I’ve pushed the han­dle and my hips to­ward the tar­get. I might feel “for­ward,” but my club will bot­tom out be­hind the ball be­cause my right side is too low.

In the “yes” setup, I’ve gripped with my right hand first, keep­ing the shoul­der high. My whole body is slightly left—and set to go.

swing fold and un­fold

Once you get the setup cor­rect, you won’t be fight­ing your­self to hit the ball be­fore you hit the ground. The long right arm and high right shoul­der have set your dis­tance to the ball. A good back­swing thought is, Fold the right arm, hinge the left wrist. That moves the club­head up­ward so you can hit down slightly at im­pact. Don’t let the right shoul­der move up on the back­swing; if any­thing, feel as if it turns a lit­tle to the in­side (above).

On the down­swing, let your right arm un­fold, keep­ing the el­bow tucked close to your side (pre­vi­ous page). Feel like your right shoul­der doesn’t go lower than it started at ad­dress. If you do that—and keep a lit­tle bend in your right wrist (no flip­ping!)— you’ll get a crisp strike on the ball.

todd an­der­son, No. 9 on Golf Digest’s 50 Best Teach­ers, is di­rec­tor of in­struc­tion at the PGA Tour Per­for­mance Cen­ter at TPC Saw­grass, Ponte Ve­dra Beach.

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