Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Characteristics Of Great Chipping
Get Up And Down In A Hurry!
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Choke Down On The Grip
This seems like an obvious mechanic, but choking down on the grip actually does a lot more than simply get your body closer to the ball to make a delicate stroke. Choking down also counterbalances the club, meaning added weight above the hands work to make it easier to make less than full shots without flipping the hands over too soon. As for your body, remember as you choke down: Don’t hunch your upper body. Instead, choke down with your hands, and get your body lower by adding more flex in the knees, as opposed to hunching over.
Many of my students assume the best way to chip is to align their body either at or parallel to the target. I advise against this, since it’s important for the body to rotate (unlike a putt where it doesn’t rotate) just as with a full shot. Also, when it comes to chipping, because the hands have a delayed or lesser release than they do with a full swing, it’s even more important that the body be poised to turn. Think of it this way: If you’re too square, the body will resist rotating, and the hands will take over and get too active. That is, they’ll start to flip! Instead, make a narrow and open stance (don’t just flare out one foot) and let your body turn through the shot.
Why? Simple. Keeping your weight predominantly on your forward side with the ball back in your stance (toward the target) helps to ensure a steeper downward blow into the ball. This prevents fat and thin shots and helps you make consistent contact with the ball. Also, by keeping your weight leaning toward the target, this helps maintain a consistent impact position, which will help you better control your shots and gauge different distances. As for the ball position, I like to play my shots just off the inside of my back toe. But you may prefer it slightly farther back or slightly farther forward. It’s okay to be flexible, but try to keep it consistent. And stay away from placing the ball too far forward in your stance. If you move it forward, you’d better be ready to hit a flop or lob shot—which is a different lesson for a different day.
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