Chipping is, in my opinion, the easiest shot in golf to execute. However, it is the shot that is the least understood. Most amateurs have improper technique and hit the ball too high. They tend to use one club to chip with and vary the length of their swing.
This is way too difficult a method.
The key to being a good chipper is to have a good pre-shot routine and to have as many “constants” in your swing with the only “variable” being club selection.
- Pre-shot routine: Always walk onto the green prior to chipping and read the green like you would when putting. Figure out the break and a good landing area. Walk back to your ball and do the following in the order below:
- Pick an intermediate target close to you to aim your clubface.
- Pick a landing spot on your target line to hit the ball in the air.
- Aim clubface first with your feet together.
- Make sure you choke down on the club close to the shaft.
- Lean the “Y” formed by your shoulders, arms and club over your front thigh.
- Take a narrow, slightly open stance with the ball positioned off your back instep.
- Lean your weight 60 percent on your target side and keep it there the entire swing.
- The swing length should be approximately ankle high with the same length and tempo on both sides of the ball, keeping the back of your target wrist flat.
- The swing should be descending from “high to low” at impact.
The only variable in chipping is your club selection.
The lie is the first thing you look at when picking a club. Is it a tight lie or down in the long grass around the green? Is it uphill or downhill?
- Tight lies require a less lofted club, and long grass requires a more lofted club.
- Uphill lies use a less lofted club and downhill use more loft.
Finally the distance to the hole is a variable that is extremely important.
Practice learning your ratios of airtime to roll time with your chipping clubs. I suggest starting with three clubs, possibly a sand wedge, pitching wedge, and 8 iron.
Your success in chipping will come when the “constants” become second nature and you become confident with your club selection.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris @gmail.com; www.golfdoctorjean.com