The title of this article might be a little misleading. The reason I used the word something is because many amateurs experience a tightening of their golf swing if anything is in their line of sight to the pin. The tips in this article where designed to deal with hitting over a bunker, however I would suggest that the skill of chipping with confidence is not limited to dealing with hazards. If we master the tips presented by Rick Fowler and Butch Harmon in the video below, then our golf game and golf score will improve dramatically.
To set the stage a bit, the tips below deal with a chip less than 15 yards from a tight lie. This information is important because hitting from rough will required different swing mechanics.
To clarify why ‘something’ is a better term than hazard does not take a great deal of imagination. Of course the most obvious would be a bunker or water hazard a player has to chip over. Then there will be grass knolls, sprinkler heads, a cart path or event a turtle. There is no shortage of obstacles that players need to play over during any round.
Personally, I try to avoid leaving a shot were I am required to hit over something when I focusing on my approach shot. I try to take into account where my ball may end up if I make a poor shot. For example, the 14th hole at Osprey Links is a great example. When hitting my second shot from 175 yards, I will aim left of the sand trap. This line will still allow me to make the green when I hit it long enough, but if I do hit it thick, I will be left of the bunker with a clear chip shot to the pin.
If I do have to chip over something, I try to follow what Fowler and Harmon suggest. The biggest point for me is to commit to the shot and hit through the ball.
A point of interest about Fowler’s contact. He is allowing the bounce on his club to skim the grass by ensuring the leading edge of his wedge is between the ball and ground right at contact. This skill does take practice to master. Once we are able to place the club in this position more often than not, then the confidence of making this shot rises exponentially.
Chipping over something happens all to frequently during a round of golf. Developing or honing the skill of confidently chipping over whatever is in the way is very important to producing lower golf scores. It is a matter of working this shot into arsenal and using it with confidence.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!