Chipping to Lower Your Golf Score

Chipping to lower your golf score is the goal of all golfers! For most amateurs chipping the ball during a round of golf, having a tap in putt helps lower their score very quickly. Recently, one of my normal playing partners shot 78 by getting up and down 6 times out of 7 during his round of golf. Although capable of shooting in the 70s most of the time, he has been plagued with challenging putts as a result of not chipping the ball close to the hole when given the opportunity. His challenge is one that most amateurs face every time they hit the links!

Previously, posts on club selection, chipping drills, and course management have outlined some of the concepts of chipping the ball close to lower your golf score. These are great points, but do not really discuss the mechanics of chipping. The “how to” chip is fundamental to beginner and intermediate players because saving strokes around the green is important to breaking 100, 90, or 80.

Derek Hooper has a fantastic video on chipping. Additionally, he is a great resource for other golfing techniques because he explains the golfing process in a manner that is clear and easy to follow.

The video discusses how to consistently chip close. However, three points during the video need to emphasized.  For consistent, successful chipping, pay attention too:

Keeping Your Head Still – Most miss hits are caused by extra movement in the upper body. As amateurs, we have the tendency to try and help the ball to the hole. The extra movement in the upper body will change the contact position of the club on the ball (resulting in topping or sculling the ball), hitting the ball fat (club hits the ground before the ball) or scooping the ball (sometimes known as a chilli dip). Keeping your head still will prevent additional upper body movement, thereby increasing the effectiveness of your chipping.

Weight Distributed on the Lead Foot – Having 80% of your weight on your lead foot is critical to solid chipping. The important aspect of this weight distribution is to keep your knees bent slightly and to have your weight distributed over the whole lead foot. Sometimes, amateurs will lean so the weight is on either the inside or outside of their foot. To build a strong foundation, keep the weight evenly distributed on the lead foot.

Keeping your Hands Ahead of the Ball – On contact, the hands need to be ahead of the ball slightly. Also, while following through, avoid breaking your wrists! It is important to let the hands lead the chip because it promotes crisp, solid and repeatable contact. Locked wrists also ensure that the ball is contacted first before the follow through, which allows for spin to be placed on the ball.

It is important to practice chipping. It is more important to practice focused chipping. By following these chipping tips, strokes will be saved during your round. Chipping the ball effectively is a great way to lower your score and have more fun while playing golf!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!



Sunglasses and Golf

The RBC Canadian Open Golf Championship is heading into the fourth day. Jim Furyk is holding a 3 stroke lead over Tim Clarke and seems near impossible to beat. Graham DeLaet shot even par on moving day and will take a miracle to win his national title. The Royal Montreal Golf Club is living up to its hype and today’s final round should be exciting and fun to watch.

sunglasses and golf

For the first three days, the weather was normal for the Montreal area with plenty of sunshine. The grass and trees are very green and when the sun shines an aura of brilliant colors surrounds the players and gallery alike. Interestingly, many players wear sunglasses either all the time, or at least during some aspect of their round. Personally, I do not wear sunglasses while playing, but wonder if it provides an advantage.

Sunglasses when fitted properly are very comfortable. According to my research, it is also important that they have the proper UV protection. It is only recently that professional golfers started wearing sunglasses and according to Robert Allenby are a must.

“Australian-born professional golfer Robert Allenby, one of the first pros on the PGA tour to wear sport sunglasses during tournament play, has said that he prefers polarized copper-colored lenses with a 50 percent transmittance rating for golfing.

“Polarized lenses help take glare and shine off the green so I can see the line better . . . The color helps me see the definition of the grass and covers all climates and light scenarios,” Allenby said in the February 2008 issue of Eyecare Business magazine.

Allenby mentioned that wearing sunglasses has helped him perform better on the links by relieving the need to squint, which keeps him more relaxed.

Following Allenby’s lead, many young players on the PGA tour are starting to wear sunglasses during tournament play, including Zach Johnson, winner of the 2007 Masters Tournament.

Also, Annika Sorenstam, perhaps the best woman golfer to play the game, with 72 career LPGA victories, has worn sports sunglasses during most of her tour wins. (

Sunglasses are definitely here to stay. The fact that many players sign endorsements to wear a particular brand has helped cement their place as must-have golfing equipment. I definitely see the benefits of wearing sunglasses, but I find it difficult to read the greens with them on. Now, it might help if I paid more that 10 dollars for a pair, but I am not really sure.

So Grateful Golfers, it is time to help me out:

  • Do you wear sunglasses?
  • If so, what brand?
  • Do you have a special lens colour?
  • What style do you like?
  • Would your recommend wearing sunglasses while playing golf?

Sunglasses are here to stay and if an advantage can be gained from wearing them, we all would like to know.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Golfing In Ireland

Golfing in Ireland is on my bucket list! Ireland, Scotland and the United Kingdom hold a special place in my heart as places to golf. Until I have the opportunity to play in these three countries, and it will happen, this dream will stay alive and be fulfilled one day. In the meantime, I live vicariously through those who do golf in the promised land. My friend Kirk details his play at his home course of Northwood Golf Club in the UK. Also, he recently kept me spell-bound as he explained his round at St Andrews Old Course. Both sound amazing!

Ireland was the only country left of the three where I did not have any connection….until seven days ago. Through the power of social media, I was fortunate enough to talk to Patrick Mc Laughlin and Gary McLaughlin. (They are brothers, however spell their last names differently) It all started when they posted a picture of the signature hole at the Slieve Russel Hotel Golf and Country Club,  Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, Ireland.

After answering this challenge, the conversation was on. He said that the Slieve Russell Golf and Country Club is a great place to play! In fact, he and his brother were playing there the next day and I asked them to send pictures. This is what they sent.

Playing the 11th hole - Heron Haunt

Playing the 11th hole – The Haunted Heron

Pactrick Mc Laughlin - 2nd shot lay up from bunker at 13th

Patrick Mc Laughlin – 2nd shot lay up from bunker at 13th

Patrick mc laughlin ‏@lochlainn1 Protected Tweets  Jul 23 @TheGratefulGolf 12th tee shot, hit driver and 52* to 6ft but missed :(

Patrick Mc Laughlin – 12th tee shot, hit driver and 52* to 6ft but missed :(

Patrick Mc Laughlin - 13th drove into bunker across the fairway

Patrick Mc Laughlin – 13th drove into bunker across the fairway

Not to be out done, the Slieve Russell Hotel sent this picture and comment along!  

Patrick Mc Laughlin and Gary McLaughlin both agree that the course is in awesome shape. The greens are fast and true and the fairways immaculate. The brief encounter with these two golf fanatics further increases my desire to play in Ireland. Actually, The Slieve Russell Hotel Golf and Country Club has made my bucket list.

I want to thank Patrick and Gary for taking the time to send me these awesome pictures. I am grateful you took the time and effort to share your experience on The Slieve Russell Golf Course.

If anyone wishes to use the pictures sent by Patrick and Gary, please contact them and ask permission as they have the sole rights to duplication.

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!