Chip Control

5 Ways To Knock It Close

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2. Hit The Spot

The best way to chip it close is to land the ball in the right spot. That means you should visualize an intermediate spot on which to land your chips and pitches.

Before your shot, consider its trajectory. (Trajectory is determined by the lie, club selection and how hard you hit it.) Once you determine these factors, you should know the optimal spot on which to land your ball. If you have little green to work with, you want to hit a higher shot that hits and rolls very little. If you have plenty of green to work with, hit a lower shot so it rolls like a putt. Once you determine that, chipping is less frustrating, because all you’re doing is landing the ball on your imaginary spot.

3. Look At Your Target!

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A great drill to help take your focus off the ball and put it on your target, is to actually hit balls while looking at the target, for the entire swing. This drill will allow you to swing through the ball, not at it, into a smooth finish. Your first couple of shots might feel a bit strange, but keep on trying—it’s a great way to practice.


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4. One-Hand-Only-Drill

To have a good short game, you have to hit both high and low shots. For low shots, grip the club in your left hand, lean the shaft and your weight forward, square your clubface at setup and put the ball back in your stance. Swing the club back and through with the back of your left hand leading the way. Impact will feel firm, trapping the ball against the ground. To hit high shots, hold the club in your right hand, place the ball in the middle of your stance, open the face and keep the shaft vertical. The right arm should freely swing the clubhead back and through.

5. No Chicken Wings

One of the biggest problems with short shots is the loss of acceleration into the hitting zone. This is usually the result of a large backswing that has a lot of arm swing and wrist action. I think we’ve all seen what happens when someone makes a long backswing for a short shot: You have no choice but to slow down and decelerate into impact, causing chunks, skulls, duffs and anything else that’s just plain old cringeworthy.

Rather than making a long backswing and hitting the brakes soon after (or before) you hit the ball, I tell my students to do the opposite: Keep your backswing shorter and accelerate through the shot.

A great drill or image is to keep your right arm relatively straight and firm in your backswing, with no bend at the elbow. In the pictures above, I’m using the Tac-Tic training aid (even though it was made for people to wear on their leading elbows, I’m using it for an alternative use).


By keeping my elbow relatively “stiff,” I can limit how much it bends and therefore limit the length of my backswing. My backswing should feel minimal, allowing it to accelerate smoothly through the ball.

Remember, don’t keep your dominant arm stiff; just minimize how far back you swing, and you’ll make a swift stroke that accelerates into the ball.


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