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.