FUNDAMENTALS OF CHIPPING
Learn the fundamentals of chipping and improve your game around the greens. Below is a list of what I consider the 7 fundamentals of chipping.
Have you ever had a great start to a hole only to ruin it with a poor short game? Improving your chipping around the green is the quickest way to lower your scores. Chipping doesn’t require lots of power or physical ability, so it’s a skill anyone can learn and get very good at. No matter the chipping method you use, or which club(s) you chip with, the fundamentals of chipping are the same. Get familiar with the fundamentals and start lowering your scores. Click here to visit the chipping section within our video learning center.
Note: A chip shot is typically a low running shot with not a lot of air time. In most cases, using a less lofted club will be a more effective option (ex: 7-9 Iron).
Fundamental #1 – Narrow Stance
Many amateur golfers tend to set-up to the ball with their feet shoulder width apart, similar to a full swing. With chipping being a shorter shot around the greens, it requires a tighter set-up to maximize consistency. Having a narrow stance provides a more consistent swing center and helps prevent excessive movement away from the ball. The more narrow your stance the more defined your swing center becomes.
Fundamental #2 – Choke Down
When addressing the ball, allow your arms to hang low and close to your body. Grip the club towards the lower portion of the grip. If you grip the club at the top, you will have a tendency to be set-up too far away from the ball and be very disconnected. This is a recipe for inconsistency. Instead, choke down toward the end of the golf grip for better connection and control.
Fundamental #3 – Level Shoulders
A consistent chipping motion begins with your shoulders. Your arms and club swing from your shoulders creating a pendulum. When chipping, it is important you contact the ball at a slightly downward approach angle. A common mistake many players make is to have a “tilt” or lower trail shoulder which actually causes the opposite (an upward approach angle). This causes fat shots, thin shots, chunks, tops, etc. Try to feel both your shoulders are level to the ground or perhaps even feel like your lead shoulder is slightly lower. This will give you the best opportunity for a downward contact angle through the ball.
Fundamental #4 – Don’t Shift Your Weight
Remember, chipping does not require power, it requires precision. Position your weight favoring your left side (for right handed golfers) and maintain your weight on your left side throughout the entire stroke. Try to avoid shifting your weight. Maintain a solid lower body with very little movement.
Fundamental #5 – Soft Natural Wrists
This is probably the most difficult of fundamentals due to the fact that many people try too hard and are very controlling. When creating a chipping stroke, the weight of the club should be flowing similar to a pendulum from your arms and shoulders. If you allow your wrists to remain soft, the weight and motion of your arms and club will naturally release your wrists through the contact area. Maintaining soft natural wrists is a major key in creating a smooth, repeatable, chipping stroke.
Fundamental #6 – Path Awareness
When creating a chipping pendulum, you have the ability to swing that pendulum in different directions. By adjusting your shoulder direction, you can make the pendulum swing left, right or center. It’s important to be aware of the direction the club is swinging. This is considered path awareness. Be sure that the path and direction of your chipping pendulum has the ability to contact the ball at a slightly downward angle.
Fundamental #7 – Understanding Bounce
This may be the most confusing of the fundamentals. It’s probably one you’ll have a better understanding of by watching the video in our video learning center. But, understanding bounce and how your “tools” (clubs) work will only propel your game to a higher level. Bounce on a golf club is basically the sole area of the club head and how much it lifts the leading edge of a golf club. Clubs are designed with different degrees of bounce. As an example, a sand wedge is designed with a lot more bounce than other clubs. If you took your sand wedge and compared it with your 7 Iron, you should see the difference in the sole. Place the sole of both clubs on the ground and hold the handle in front of you. You will notice the leading edge of the sand wedge is higher off the ground than the leading edge of the 7 iron. This is because the sand wedge had more bounce than the 7 Iron. What this means is, the sand wedge will be more apt to skip, sweep, slide or bounce off the ground than the 7 Iron. The 7 Iron will have more of a chance to dig into the ground. This is why the sand wedge is better at getting a ball out of a bunker…because of the bounce. There are so many different chipping situations around the green. Understanding bounce and how it works will give you the ability to execute different types of chip shots with a variety of clubs.
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