If you ever find out, please let me know! Okay, I am just kidding because I think I have finally found the technique that works for my game. I say ‘my game’ because what works for me may not work for you. So, I offer this information in the hopes that you find something valuable you can use to improve your short side chipping. It really is not difficult, but trusting (there is that word again) your swing is so very important. Let us begin.
As you can see from the picture above, I have a challenging short sided chip shot over a bunker. My ball is sitting 6 paces to the front of the bunker; 10 paces to the back of the bunker; from back of bunker to green is 4 paces with an elevation change of 6 feet; the pin is 5 paces on the green. There is 20 paces from the pin to the back of the green.
When making this shot I primarily focus on two things: where I want to land my ball and making a strong follow through. The first will tell me how far I have to hit the ball in the air and the second will promote solid contact on the ball. Of course there are many other things to consider and here are just a few other thoughts I had to contend with:
- my lie was a big fluffy, so I had to ensure I did not swing to far under the ball which would promote hitting the top of my wedge and the result would be a short shot.
- The green was receptive, being aggressive was important.
- My landing point was 16 yards away on an elevated green, so It would require an 18 yard hit because the ball would not travel the entire 16 yards in this situation.
- It was better to be past the green than short.
- My follow through had to be at least as long as my back swing; usually a bit farther. If I pulled my club back to my waist, for example, my follow through had to be higher than my waist. This promotes solid contact.
- The wind was not a factor on this shot.
- I did not open my club face anymore than usual
- I ensured I followed through on my intended aim line
As you can see there are a plethora of things to think about and I would consider this a routine shot with a reasonable amount of considerations before making my shot.
I purposely left out which club to I used because I wanted you to think about which club you would use. Well, I selected my 60° lob wedge. This is a standard club for me on these shots and the lie was perfect.
I drew back my wedge to just past my waist and swung through the ball with a waist high follow through. The popped up in the air and landed a yard longer than I wanted, but if I was going to miss my landing…..long was the safe play. This soft delicate shot worked out very well as you can see below:
My ball stopped about 7 feet past the hole. I was very happy with the results and feel that I executed this shot very well. For those counting, I made the putt for par and walked of with a smile on my face.
When hitting short sided chip shots, I think there are two important factors that will lead to success all the time. The first is where we want to land the ball. Depending on the type of shot, this specific spot will vary. However, if you hit it, great things will happen. The second is to follow through at least the same distance as your drawback. This is a key point that many amateurs overlook. Most players will shorten their follow through and this action promotes an inconsistent stroke on the ball. The momentum on contact will change on almost every shot and therefore is hard to gauge over many shots.
Hitting short sided chip shots is hard. It will challenge your game physically and mentally. However, if you keep my two points in mind, I think you will see a greater number of successful shots int he future.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!