Although it's tempting to hit chips indoors, all it takes is one broken lamp to realize that golf is an outdoor activity. Nevertheless, you can improve your chipping technique within the friendly confines of your own living room with the help of a wooden dowel or broken golf shaft.Take the dowel and place it through the hole on the top of the grip on a pitching wedge. Push the dowel roughly eight to 12 inches down the butt end of the shaft (a little Vaseline may help the dowel slide easier through the clubshaft). Two to three feet of the dowel should extend outward from the top of the grip.
Now, practice your chipping motion, making sure that your left wrist remains rigid as the clubface passes through the impact zone. If your left wrist breaks down (a flaw that can cause a lot of short-game misery), you'll feel the protruding portion of the dowel hit against your left side. In addition to guarding against wrist breakdown, the dowel will also help you to establish the proper hands-forward position at address—a crucial factor for clean contact.
The dowel also will force you to keep your hands moving forward and swing the club down the target line in the followthrough. Once you master this drill, you'll be able to get up and down with the best of them.
As you perform these drills, you'll begin to see the value of other everyday items in helping you improve your game. Don't be afraid to experiment—you may just develop the next must-have training aid.
Special thanks to instruction model, PGA professional Rick Avina. Avina instructs at Punta Mita Golf Club in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Photography by Warren Keating