‘Build­ing your feel and trust­ing your in­stincts will help you chip it closer’ 1 The lie of­ten dic­tates the shot you can play 2 Keep it sim­ple to get it close ev­ery time 3 Play with bounce, loft and ball po­si­tion 4 It’s ok to look silly when you prac­tise 5


The grass is very im­por­tant be­cause cer­tain shots are eas­ier in cer­tain grass. For ex­am­ple, you need to have some club­head speed from fluffy rough, so you also need loft to pre­vent the ball go­ing too far. You’ll have to swing rel­a­tively hard and it will pro­duce a soft flight and land­ing. On the other hand, if you’re play­ing off fair­ways and tight lies you can play the ball more for­ward in your stance and with less loft be­cause you don’t have to worry about the grass slow­ing the club­head or get­ting trapped be­tween the ball and face. You can swing softer, land it shorter with a lower tra­jec­tory and let it re­lease more. I’m al­ways try­ing to hit the per­cent­age shot. It doesn’t have to be flashy or fancy – it has to be ef­fi­cient. I’m look­ing for the eas­i­est shot to hit well – that’s gen­er­ally the lower shot. There’s no right or wrong way. You might have a unique style or grip but have fun with it. The most im­por­tant thing is how close you get the ball to the hole – not how you look do­ing it. Am­a­teurs should prac­tise get­ting a feel for the bounce on the sole of the club on the ground. If you start get­ting that feel of the bounce hit­ting the ground and get­ting out of it with­out digging, then you can start ex­per­i­ment­ing with a higher tra­jec­tory and de­velop dif­fer­ent shots. I learned it by play­ing around and try­ing dif­fer­ent things. What hap­pens if I lean the shaft dif­fer­ent ways? If I lean it too far for­wards the club starts to dig, but if I get the han­dle a lit­tle bit back I feel the bounce is more ex­posed. Play around with the ball po­si­tion too as this will change your at­tack an­gle – the fur­ther back it is the steeper the club­head will be into the ball. You need time play­ing around the chip­ping green. It’s im­por­tant not to be em­bar­rassed when you prac­tise. Peo­ple tend to prac­tise what they’re good at be­cause they look good and it makes them feel good. Out on tour, you see peo­ple prac­tise what they’re strug­gling with and it doesn’t mat­ter if you look stupid while you prac­tise as long as it’s get­ting bet­ter on the course. Some guys like Shane Lowry only use one club but I tend to use three – my 60° and 56° wedges and an 8-iron if I want to get it rolling. It’s im­por­tant to prac­tise with them all so you have a feel for the ball speed and tra­jec­tory for each club be­cause it can change a lot, es­pe­cially if you chip with irons too. Am­a­teurs re­ally want to get the el­e­va­tion so in­stinc­tively they try to cre­ate it by lean­ing back. This makes you hit the ground be­fore the ball so you ei­ther hit it fat if the club digs or thin if the club bounces into the back of the ball. The club has to move down to get the ball up. The harder you hit down into it, the higher it’s go­ing to launch up­wards. I’m not so much into pick­ing one spot to land the ball be­cause I feel a kind of re­stric­tion when I do that. I take the whole shot in, rather than fo­cus­ing on one spot. I like it when Ben Cren­shaw and Brad Faxon talk about putting and they see it like a mo­tor­way that bends to the hole. That’s the ap­proach I take to chip­ping. It gives me more free­dom know­ing that if I hit it firm I can go straighter or if I go a lit­tle softer it will bend more. I’m very in­stinc­tive with dis­tance con­trol. Once I’ve se­lected the shot and I stand over the ball I try to go un­con­scious and let my nat­u­ral feel and in­stincts take over. You have to prac­tise a lot to be able to do this so it can be dif­fi­cult for am­a­teurs. I know if I have a long break from golf that my chip­ping feels a lot dif­fer­ent when I play again. My eyes see some­thing but it’s not trans­lated into my body – like I’m not cal­i­brated. But I still think a lot of am­a­teurs would ben­e­fit from trust­ing their eyes more.

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