Chip your way to better ball striking
Doug Hammer

Scottsdale, AZ (Sports Network) -- The chip shot could be the secret to golf. In my opinion, the chip shot is also the most overlooked aspect of the game. Remember, you can never be too good at chipping; therefore, you can never practice chipping enough.

Let's start from the top - a chip shot, by definition, is a shot used around the green, one that requires minimum air time and maximum roll time. Some golfers call this a "bump and run" or "pitch and run." In this article I will always call it a chip shot.

The chip shot is the smallest version of your full swing. If you are struggling to make solid contact with your irons, perfecting a chip shot can be a great way to get back on track. And, if your short game improves, so will your scores!

Let's explore the proper chipping technique. As with all golf shots, a good chip begins with a great set-up. I look at 3 main setup keys:

Chipping set-up
  • 1. With your ball position two to three inches inside (to the right of) your left heel, narrow your width of stance so that the ball appears to be directly off your right toe. Now open your stance by pulling your left foot back slightly and pointing the left toe away from the ball toward the target.

  • 2. Keeping your grip the same as your full swing, grip down on the club slightly and lean the shaft to the left so that the butt end of the club points at your left hip.

  • 3. Step three is the most important one to insuring success. Try to match your spine angle to the shaft angle (see photo). In other words, get your spine more straight up and down and leaning toward the target as if you are trying to balance on your left leg.

    Once you are set-up properly the motion becomes quite simple. The shoulders create the backswing while keeping your spine neutral and anchored over the left leg. There should be zero wrist action in the back swing. Keeping the spine anchored forward will steepen the takeaway making it easier for the club to swing down into the back of the golf ball.

    Backswing Drill
    The forward swing is created with shoulders and the hips rotating together through impact (see photo). It is very important to move the lower body through impact, just as you would in the full swing, to keep the wrists from breaking or coming up too quickly in the follow-through.

    Try to hold your finish position until the ball stops rolling to evaluate your shot. The club head should remain beneath the hands, with your spine still over the left leg creating a balanced finish on the left side. Once the ball has stopped next to your target, repeat the process.

    When you are ready to practice some full shots, concentrate on feeling the spine more forward at impact creating a downward motion with the club head. Follow this with a balanced finish on the left side by rotating the lower body through with the upper body. This will make your iron shots much more crisp while perfecting those crucial short chips we all need to save par.

    Doug Hammer * Director of Instruction * Troon North Golf Club p 480-585-5300 ext. 251 * f 480-585-5161 * 10320 E Dynamite Blvd. * Scottsdale, AZ 85262 Managed by Troon Golf? *

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