The chipping and putting motions are linear in nature. By that, I mean the face remains square to the target line throughout, never opening or closing like it does with full swings from the fairway and the tee. Moreover, the path of the stroke shouldn't deviate from the target line. Realizing these facts can save a lot of amateur golfers a lot of headaches around the green, where the majority of less-than-skilled players chip the ball with a full-swing technique and leave themselves with a lengthy putt.
The best advice is to treat your chipping technique as a true linear motion. In other words, strive to keep the clubface square from the takeaway to the finish and to swing the club along the target line.
Create a true linear motion when chipping by holding your wedge in the same manner as you would hold your putter. Take your grip with your fingers under the handle, with your thumbs running directly down the top of the shaft. Take a few chipping strokes and notice how the putting-style grip facilitates a swing that travels linearly along the target line.
Next, position your body over the ball and assume the same stance as you do when putting, with your eyes directly over the golf ball. To execute a true linear chipping stroke, simply rock your shoulders and sweep the clubhead back and then through the ball. Notice how very little, if at all, the clubface opens or closes. Make a few practice swings and soon you'll turn your chipping motion into a simple, linear movement of the club that will make those delicate pitch shots easier to control.
Debbie Steinbach is a former LPGA Tour player and creator of the Venus Golf instruction programs for women. For more information, visit www.venusgolf.com.