Monday, October 11, 2010

Chipping - Consider the conditions first

I’ll often ask students what club they use for chipping and they usually reply “A pitching wedge because that’s my favorite club and I’m more confident with it.” I’ll then ask them, “Okay, but is your lie always the same? Is the ball always the same distance from the green? Is it always the same distance from the edge of the green to the pin? Is the speed of the green and the slope always the same?” I explain to them the importance of considering these variables when faced with a chip shot. Only then are they able to decide what club is best suited to help them get the ball close to the hole.

After a missed approach shot players are faced with options when chipping from just off the green. Keep in mind for the average player a low trajectory shot that lands just over the edge of the green and rolls to the hole is highly recommended over attempting an impressive but risky high trajectory shot the lands softly near the flagstick. In other words, “The less airtime and more roll time the better”.

With this in mind choose a club that will produce just enough trajectory to carry the ball a few feet onto the green allowing it to roll to the hole. At address position the ball back in your stance with your hands forward and your weight on your left leg. Note a straight line downward from your sternum would intersect the ground left(or in front) of the ball. Using a pendulum – type stroke with no wrist motion strike the ball with a descending club head. The loft of the club will pop the ball up into the air and onto the green.

Generally the span of clubs used for chipping will be from a pitching wedge through a six iron. The above mentioned variables will help you determine the best club for the task. When practicing create different situations around the putting green so you can develop a sense of feel and observe how the ball reacts using different loft clubs.

Devote half of your practice time to your short game including chipping, putting, pitch shots and bunker shots. Iimproving your short game will take considerable pressure off your middle iron approach shots and is the quickest way to lower your scores.

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