Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Hit successful chip shots!
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Hitting successful chip shots from around the green requires a few basic fundamentals to understand. I think chipping is a little like putting, in that there's more than one right way to succeed. Some players like less hand and wrist movements, while other players like to feel some flex or play in the hands and wrists. Some like to open their stance, while others prefer a square stance. And on and on go the different ways to hit a chip, as it seems the ways to get the job done are endless.
That said, there happen to be two keys that I think are required to execute successful chips. The first is to understand where the majority of your weight should be during the stroke, and where the ball should be. I encourage my students to keep the majority of their weight on their left side, and play the ball in the middle-back of the stance. This ball-back/weight-forward combo does two things: It creates the necessary shaft lean toward the target, which then steepens your chipping stroke to prevent hitting the ground first before the ball. If you're too vertical with the shaft, you run the risk of hitting fat and thin shots, more often than you would with the ball back in your stance a little bit. Second, it makes it easier to control the trajectory and roll, helping you better dial in the right stroke length and distance for each chip.
A great way to feel this for yourself is to set up, shift your weight so it's predominantly on your left side (maybe a 65/35 split), and play the ball off your right toe. To know how far to lean the club forward, simply lay the club so the grip rests over your left thigh. That's where you should grip the club and play the shot.
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