Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Characteristics Of Great Chipping
Get Up And Down In A Hurry!
Let’s get this straight: Keeping your head down is never a good idea, especially with your chips. If you stuff your head into your chest, your upper body loses its ability to rotate and once again, the hands will try to take over. When that happens, the hands get flippy, and even if you manage to make decent contact, you’ll have a heckuva time trying to control your distance and direction. Instead, keep your head upright and your neck in line with your spine. This will free your upper body to rotate. And by the way, keeping your head up doesn’t mean taking your eyes off the ball.
When chipping, I like to mix up my club options, depending on the amount of height and roll I want. This allows me to maintain the same chipping stance and ball position, and lets the club do the work for changing the way the ball flies and rolls. But look closely at my options. I prefer to use an 8-iron, pitching wedge and a sand wedge. The 8-iron is my go-to for low-rolling chips. The pitching wedge does the same, except that I use it in deeper grass. But notice I omitted the lob wedge? Reason being, a lob wedge is for lob shots, not chip shots. A 56-degree sand wedge gives me the optimal height/spin combination, and because of the bounce, making solid contact is a lot easier than with a low-bounce lob wedge.
Make A Single-Lever Swing
Steve Stricker does it best. Next time he’s on TV, check out his single-lever chipping style. What that means is he hinges his wrist at the setup, then maintains that hinge all the way through the chip. The body rotates the clubhead through, and because of this, Stricker is able to consistently reproduce a stacked impact position. What’s that mean? It means Stricker, like many good players, can better gauge different distances by adjusting his swing length. So, longer chips require a longer swing; shorter chips need a shorter swing. He doesn’t have to make big changes to his ball position, how he releases the hands, etc. Instead, by using a single-lever method and rotating the body through the shot, Steve Stricker is able to get up and down a whopping 75 percent of the time. Good enough for fourth in Scrambling on the PGA Tour in 2010 (at the time of this issue). Copy this method and you’ll become a better chipper in no time.
Bobby Hinds, PGA, is well known throughout Southern California for his innovative short-game teaching philosophy. To learn more and to book a lesson, call (323) 363-7761.
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