Tuesday, January 19, 2010
5 Ways To Knock It Close
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Admit it. Chipping isn’t exactly exciting. Some might say it’s downright boring. It certainly isn’t as thrilling as busting a drive 300 yards down the middle. But if you want to shoot the lights out (or save par), the only way to do it is to get the ball close to the hole, and it’s chipping that’ll do that.
Over the next six pages, I’ve culled together five of my favorite chipping tips (plus one bonus tip). Some are drills, while others are tips you can apply on the course. All, I guarantee, were designed to get the ball up and in as quickly as possible. Practice these and watch your scores drop!
I can’t tell you how many times a student has come up to me and asked how to hit one of those chip or pitch shots that spins so much it takes a hop or two and just stops. Tour pros routinely hit these shots, making the ball “dance” to the amazement of TV audiences. How do they do it? A number of ways, actually, from equipment to clubhead speed to setup. You need all three to pull it off, so read on and start making your short shots dance.
Before you even begin to think about how to hit the ball, you have to use the right equipment. Choose a highly lofted wedge (56° and up) and make sure its grooves are sharp. If you don’t have a new wedge, go to a clubfitter and ask them to sharpen your grooves. Next, you need a soft ball. (Look for one with a urethane cover. “Rock Flights” aren’t going to spin worth a darn, so leave them in the bag.) I use the Srixon Z-Star, which really stops on a dime.
Once you have the proper equipment, it’s time to set up correctly. Place the ball back in your stance, opposite your big right toe and lean your hands forward so they’re opposite the middle of your left thigh. The key to really getting spin is generating a lot of quick clubhead speed at just the right moment—basically as the club approaches your ball. Think about making a firm-wristed stroke that accelerates into a compact finish, much like striking a match. I can’t stress enough how important it is to make your impact quick and firm. This allows the grooves on the club to really engage the ball’s soft cover.
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