Chipping tips with Oliver Wilson
Golf Monthly reader John Stevens explained to me that he had ambitions of getting down to a scratch handicap.
For me the short game is the key to getting your handicap cut, regardless of how far you hit the ball. Being able to chip it close and give yourself a good chance of par will increase your confidence in all parts of the game.
Many of the amateurs I see can reduce their handicap dramatically by thinking more carefully about the way they approach their chipping.
Shots around the green don’t have to be difficult, but a lot of amateurs over complicate things by using clubs that aren’t suitable for the shot.
I see so many amateurs approach a chip shot with an exaggerated forward press, meaning they set up to chip shots with their hands a long way forward, ahead of the ball.
This means they deloft the club and the leading edge digs into the ground, often causing the dreaded fat. The grind of the wedge is designed to cut through the grass and pop the ball up in the air.
If you can learn to trust the club to do the job it was designed to do you will find far more consistency.
A good example of this commitment comes when your are faced with a shot over a bunker to a tight pin.
This might seem intimidating at first, but it doesn’t need to be. By taking a lofted wedge and using the loft and bounce as it was intended you can reduce the risks of a fat or thin contact.
The bounce means you are able to lay the club open to help get the ball up quickly as long as you make a committed swing through the ball.
Getting your hands in a neutral position, rather than too far forward, means there will be plenty of loft on the wedge at impact to help pop the ball up in the air.
Interestingly, I also see the opposite problem when amateurs are faced with chip shots where there is plenty of green between them and the hole.
There is no need to take out your most lofted club here as you don’t need to send the ball high into the air.
Pick a less lofted club and play the percentage option that improves your chances of getting up and down.
Simply thinking about shot selection can result in big improvements without the need for a major technique overhaul.