Struggling with your chipping? These Tour Pros can help with that...
10 Tour Pro Chipping Tips
I play the ball back in my stance with my feet fairly close together and my weight favouring my left leg. You won’t want a lot of sway with this swing, only rotation, and a narrow stance makes it easier to turn back and through. I also angle my knees slightly towards the target. This places my sternum on top of the ball in a pre-set impact position and shows me where I need to be when I make contact. Try to minimise your hand action. I like to feel as though my wrists are hinging and re-hinging in response to the momentum of my arm swing. In addition, when you swing you should feel as though you’re rotating around your left leg without shifting weight back and forth. This gets your hands ahead of the ball at impact, leading to a lower ball flight.
No matter which shot you choose, it’s important that you create the flight you want by changing your address and not the swing. I set a fraction more weight on my left side throughout the shot. The big mistake amateurs make is to lean back through the downswing to help the ball into the air. This can cause fat or thin strikes and makes the perfect contact much harder to find. Finally, you need to commit to the shot with a gradual acceleration through the ball.
For a lot of short game shorts an important thing is to keep the butt of the club pointing towards you. You want to keep your hands in front a degree but when you’re driving it ahead the chances of you digging that front edge into the ground and hitting poor shots is going to be quite a lot. For me I like to open the clubface a little bit, move it forward in my stance and let the clubhead get thrown in underneath the ball.
Related: Henrik Stenson’s 5 short game tips
Go through the different clubs in your bag, aiming to pitch the ball five yards away from you with each one. That will give you an idea of how far each club will run out. You’ve got a whole bag of clubs to use and some people hit everything with a lob wedge. Look at what the exam paper is asking you, because sometimes the easiest shot is with a 7-iron or a putter.
I’d encourage very little wrist breakdown, little weight shift and quite a simple-looking motion. Not many guys on tour chip like me – most chip using the bounce quite nicely. Watch Luke Donald – he’s your perfect chipper.
On the longer ones, where you have to get a little bit of height, there’s a bit more rotation, so when you hit the shot your belt buckle is facing the target a bit more. The ones where you’re two or three paces off the green and the swing is really minimal are more about feel with the hands.
There is not a lot of wrist break required for a chip-and-run. I like to get the club sitting upright and from here it feels more like a putt. Don’t set your wrists; instead rock your shoulders back and forth to create the momentum. Club selection is important and this is where your time on the practice green will come in handy, as you’ll have a better feel for the right combination of flight and roll.
Before I hit a chip, I try to find a spot where I really want to land the ball. You should be trying to get the ball on the floor as soon as possible so it rolls up to the hole like a putt. By selecting a landing spot, you can then choose your club – anything from a 5-iron to a lob wedge. By aiming to land the ball on a flat spot not too far away, you remove the greater risk of a poor strike that comes with a more difficult shot.
Chip-and-run – The best advice is to grip the club – maybe a 7 or 8-iron – as you would when gripping a putter, and adopt a similar stance. Stand up straighter with the hands a little higher up and make a putt-like stroke. Also ensure that you make a smooth, rocking motion with your shoulders. The goal of the chip and run is to minimise spin on the ball, something you’ll create if you use your hands excessively. That goes for all chips: if you want to avoid putting spin on the ball, keep your hands quiet.
One simple piece of advice I would offer is the faster you can get the ball on the ground running, the better. It’s harder to y the ball the whole way there and get it to stop, as you need to make perfect contact every time. For amateurs, the quicker you can get it on the ground running, the better – you have more margin for error on the strike and the results will be more consistent. Also, don’t be afraid to get the putter out 10 yards away from the green, especially in the winter when it’s damp and wet underfoot and difficult to get a consistent strike.
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