You’ve probably heard the adage, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” But if you really want to take a little money from your buddies (and shave a few strokes off your handicap), one sure way to do it is to become a great chipper of the golf ball.

 

Most amateurs do not hit many greens in regulation. But if you can chip the ball close to the pin with consistency, you’ll be amazed at how much lower you will score.

 

Chipping is all about technique. You don’t need to be strong or possess Bryson DeChambeau’s clubhead speed to excel at this part of the game. But you do need to understand ball position, setup, arm action and body rotation. It also won’t hurt to spend less time at the range hammering drivers and more time at the practice green working on chipping drills.

 

With all that in mind, here are some tips that will have you chipping close to the pin on a regular basis.

 

  1. The Setup

The setup is the foundation for a successful chip. Position the ball in the center of your stance or slightly off your back foot, with 60 to 70 percent of your weight on your front foot. Take a narrow stance that is slightly open to the target line and keep your shoulders level. Keeping your feet close together makes it easier to turn your body, which is critical, while making sure your weight is slightly forward promotes a slightly descending blow. The open stance will allow your body to rotate to the finish.

 

  1. The Swing

Your upper body should swing the golf club, while your arms and wrists remain quiet. Therefore, you must keep your left arm and wrist (for a right-handed golfer) straight and firm during the shot. You should feel like your arms are riding along with your chest as you take the club back and follow through. There should be little to no wrist hinge. When the wrist breaks down and flips over, the loft on the club changes, resulting in sculled or fat shots, and, even worse, the dreaded yips. If you’re having trouble keeping your wrist firm, try this in practice: take a thick rubber band and wrap it around your wrist. Slide the butt end of the club under the rubber band, keeping it close to the wrist. This will help you get the proper feel when chipping.

 

  1. Common Mistakes to Avoid

Don’t try to lift the ball into the air; let the loft of the club do the work. Maintain a straight-up spine. Don’t tilt back. Don’t try to “hit” the ball, which will cause you to become too handsy and flip at the ball. Remember, there’s no wrist action with a chip shot. And don’t forget to rotate your lower body.

 

  1. Drill It Home

Watch the pros on the practice range and you will always see them working on some sort of drill. Strangely, amateurs hardly ever do this. Once you understand chipping technique, spend time fine-tuning it so that it becomes second nature.

 

Start with the hula hoop drill. Place a hula hoop onto the green and position golf balls in five-yard intervals from the hoop, up to 40 yards away. Start with the closest ball and chip it inside the hoop. For each successful chip, move to the next closest ball. If you miss from one distance, start over from the beginning. This will help your distance control and also your ability to perform under pressure.

 

Another drill, which will help you keep your wrist from breaking down, is the “trail-hand release drill.” For this, make your normal swing, but drop your trail hand off the club just before impact and focus on keeping your left arm swinging directly towards the target. If you’re struggling with sculling chip shots or the yips, this drill will provide a welcome cure by training your body not to flip the trail hand right before impact.

 

Finally, here’s a drill you can do at home. Try chipping a coin off your living room carpet into a cup. This drill forces you to stay down through the chip and trains you to make crisp contact.

 

Follow these tips and drills, and those fears that engulfed you when faced with a chip shot will fade away, replaced by a confidence that you can always get up and down for par.

X

Wednesday, July 17th, 2024

The Golf Courses are open, and carts are available.

18-hole carts are available up to the 3:00pm starting time.

9-hole golf carts are available up to the 5:00pm starting time.

Drinking water is available at filling stations by the clubhouse. 

¤