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Get Up And Down More Often

Closed Face
Another misconception about good chipping is the one about keeping the clubface facing the target as much as possible. At impact, yes, you obviously do want the clubface facing the target. But on the backswing, a closed clubface will only lead to awkward positions at impact. From this position, I’ll have to excessively rotate my body to make up for a clubface that’s already too closed at impact, i.e., I’ll pull it.

Another problem with this position is the stress it puts on my hands. Because the clubface is closed, I can’t fully rotate the hands. If I try, I’ll end up hitting down too steeply onto the golf ball. Which as you might guess, makes it impossible to hit consistent chip shots. A fat, stubbed or thinned shot is just a matter of time.

Square Face
A square face and open face are not exactly the same thing. By square, what I’m referring to is keeping the clubface square to the upper body, not the target. So, when you swing the club back, by allowing the clubface to rotate open relative to the target, the clubface is actually staying square in relation to the upper body. As you swing through on the forwardswing, the clubface is in the process of closing relative to the target line, but again, remains square relative to the upper body.

Experiment with a couple waist-high practice swings. As you rotate back and through, keep the clubface angle square to your body. As you do so, you’ll see the clubface open and close relative to the target line.

If you stay square, you’ll not only hit straighter shots, but also find it’s easier to correct bad alignment in a hurry.

Rotate The Body
You can’t hit good pitches and chips by trying to push the ball toward the hole! Let your body rotate, just as it does with any regular swing. The biggest difference isn’t so much that the swing is smaller; rather with delicate pitches and chips, your body weight ought not to shift laterally as much it does with a full swing. Instead, allow your body to rotate; just be sure to keep excess weight shift to a minimum. Stay centered over the ball from start to finish.

Groove Concerns
The pros say they’ve noticed a difference, but what about the rest of us? In 2011, equipment companies will stop manufacturing wedges that have pre-2010 rulings on groove-edge sharpness. You can still use your wedges from 2010 and earlier for a few more years (depending on your circumstances), but if you do make a switch, the area in which you’ll see the biggest difference will be in the rough. The pros seem to agree that their shots from the rough don’t check up as much as they used to, while shots from the fairway still have plenty of bite. As for how much the grooves will affect amateurs, only time will tell.

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