Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Save strokes from just off the green
The standard setup for a chip shot is quite simple. Using your regular full-swing grip (shorten the club for better control) set up with a narrow stance (your feet should be square or slightly open to the target). Play the ball in the center of your stance or a bit back of center and then lean your weight forward so the weight distribution is somewhere in the 70% (left foot)/30% (right foot) range.
Although your hands should be fairly quiet, they shouldn’t be stiff or locked in your backswing. The club should feel like it’s swinging back fairly vertically (your weight distribution at setup will put you in that position). On the downswing, your arms and body should swing the club back to the ball. Your goal is to clip the grass underneath and in front of the ball. On the downswing, it’s important to keep your hands quiet so you hit firmly into impact. The finish position should be low (low shot = low finish).
One of my favorite shots is a chip shot from a downhill lie. It’s a great shot to learn because the elevation change actually forces you into a chipping setup position and encourages a very descending blow into the ball.
Just like all other downhill lies, it’s important that your body lines are parallel with the slope so you can make crisp contact. Lean your weight forward to accommodate the hill, even if it feels like you may fall forward. This position with your weight forward encourages a swing that works from high to low. Finally, the key to good contact is to swing down into the ball. If your wrists “flip,” you’ll top it from this lie.
The ball tends to come out “hot” from this lie, so concentrate on controlling your backswing and making good contact. The ball also will come out lower than normal. You may want to use your lob wedge or open your clubface a little to help the ball come out a bit softer. Taken together, these factors will help determine how far your shot travels in the air and on the green.
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