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Chip Shots

"Chip Shots" . Even though putting and driving are more glamorous and critical to a golfer's game, when a chip shot is needed, it can be equally as important a part of the golfer's scoring arsenal. For it is when the other parts of the game have failed that the chip shot is called upon to bail out the score for that hole. Let's take a look at this underrated, but very important, shot in a golfer's game.

  THINK OF THE CHIP SHOT AS AN OFFENSIVE BLOW. Even though chipping is a finesse part of the game, the actual shot must be thought of as an offensive stroke. The primary thought in coming through the ball must be of hitting it crisply and cleanly, with the result being to hit it as close to the hole as possible. You are not defensive and decelerating through the ball, you are thinking offensively and accelerating through the ball.

  SET UP RELAXED, WITH WEIGHT PRIMARILY ON LEFT, AND SET YOUR HANDS AHEAD OF THE BALL. This helps to prevent one of the worst flaws of a chip shot - that of reverse pivoting and scooping the ball with the weight on your back foot. The set up favoring the left side helps to facilitate the more efficient crisp, downward stroke on the ball. Watch a pro golfer next time you see one chipping. The set-up will be relaxed, firm, and have the weight set-up to the left. You might not be as good as a pro, but there's no reason you can't have their set-up.

  VISUALIZE THE SPOT ON THE GREEN WHERE YOU WANT THE CHIP TO LAND. Too often, the golfer gets pin conscious and lands it too close to the stick, which causes it to roll too far past. Or the golfer gets too anxious and looks up to see where it's going - the dreaded chili-dip. The solution is to find the spot where you want it to land, and to execute the shot that lands it there. Of course, you will leave room for it to roll to the hole once it has hit the ground. The important thing to remember is to have a target where your shot is to land. Gravity and momentum will take care of the rest.

  TAKE THE BACKSWING BACK SLOWLY. There is no reason to hurry a backswing. The ball is not going anywhere. And furthermore, once you've taken it back too fast, you'll never really be able to recover from it. The key to hitting good chip shots is to start it slowly and smoothly. Then you will be able to come down through the ball with an equally firm, smooth stroke.

  ON THE DOWNSWING, CHIP DOWNWARD AND THROUGH THE BALL WITH A FIRM LEFT WRIST. The way to consistently chip the ball well is with a stroke that crisply accelerates down and through the ball. The club is controlled by the muscles in the forearms (particularly the left), and at impact, the left wrist that is firmly in control allows the golfer to strike the ball with the same amount of force (approximately) every time. This allows the golfer to determine the distance he hits the ball by how far he takes the club back. So, with a good set-up, a slow takeaway, and with a smooth, crisp, downward stroke, you can achieve a consistent chipping stroke that will allow you to hit that chip shot close to the hole. And one other thing - to make sure you accelerate throught the ball, make sure your follow through after striking the ball is at least as much as it was on your takeaway. Try these tips, and practice. I think they will help.

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