Hanging back at impact
One fault that many amateurs make is to hang back as they strike the ball. This often stems from a desire to help the ball into the air, but can cause fat and thin shots.
If your weight is on the back foot through impact, your body rotation will stop and your hands will start to flick the club at the ball.
The good news is this common fault has a simple fix. Hit some shots with your right heel lifted off the ground.
This will move your weight more towards your left side. As you play the shot, focus on rotating your upper body through the ball so that your chest faces the target at the finish. This will help you find a more consistent strike and a much better flow to the stroke.
Lack of feel
To play short shots consistently well, you need to maximise your natural feel. To do that, you’ll require a lot of softness in your body.
It’s very easy, especially under pressure, to let tension creep in. When chipping, I often see that tension causes a straightening of the elbows and knees through the shot.
This will not only make good distance control hard to come by, but it also makes poor strikes far more likely.
To counter this, you need to relax your knees, arms and shoulders as you address the ball. Then, allow your body to turn through the shot – as I do this you’ll notice that my arms come in towards my rib cage with no tension at all. By having this softness, you’ll maximise your feel for those delicate little chip shots.
Lack of consistency
As with every other aspect of the game, the key to becoming a good chipper is consistency. That’s why you need to develop a technique that enables you to make the most of your wedge’s bounce.
Old-fashioned short-game coaching taught people to move the ball back in the stance and push the hands forward at address.
However, this removes the bounce (the part of the wedge that prevents digging through impact). A great drill that forces you to use the bounce is to hit some one-handed chips.
Set the ball in the middle of your stance at address, and think of the club as an extension of the left arm. Allow the wrists to hinge on the backswing and through impact, this ensures the clubhead passes the left wrist as you strike the ball.
The next issue to address in this chipping fault fixer is the classic fault of decelerating, which is one that we all know to avoid. However, when the pressure’s on, it can all too often creep in.
The club must accelerate through impact – any loss of speed will result in a duffed chip. When you play the shot, ensure that your follow-through is longer than your backswing.
This will help keep the clubhead accelerating through impact. It’s a very simple thought, but one that will pay off, especially when you’re under pressure.