Chipping is a fundamental skill that all golfers must master. It is one what requires patience, imagination and confidence in order to develop the chipping stroke needed to lower your golf score. All to often, amateurs, like myself, forget to trust in our technique and try to help our chip get just a bit closer to the hole. Unfortunately, the only thing that happens is we stub or blade our chip resulting in grind to make par or bogey. Helping any golf shot usually results in poor execution, but when chipping it seems to create worse results.
Right about now you are probably wondering what I mean by helping your chip. There are several ways this happens and I have experienced all them throughout my career. After many trial and error mistakes, I have narrowed down my woes to three areas:
The first is trying to chop at my ball with a short follow through. It is similar to a sand shot, but on the grass the leading edge of my club bounces and it feels like I am picking the ball off the grass. I think that I am trying hit the ball clean, but all I am doing is mishitting the ball. This uncomfortable shot is caused by a poor set up and and ball position. I have even double hit my chip from this poor shot. Chopping at the ball is definitely not the way to hit a clean and effective chip.
The second scooping the ball my breaking my wrist during contact. I am trying to loft the ball by helping increase my club angle on contact. I think this is a common mistake for many amateurs. Usually, my ball lands short of my intended landing area and I am chipping again. As a result, I go to my golf back and pull out a bag of chips to go with my ‘chilli-dip’. 😉 This particular shot is definitely not helping my golf score.
The last helping technique to avoid is always using the same club regardless of the situation or ball position. Many amateurs have confidence with a particular club (usually a pitching wedge) and use it everywhere around the green. We adjust the lie, club position, hand position, etc, in order to use our favourite chipping device thinking that this helps provide best technique for lower golf scores. Well, it actually does not because we introduce too many variables to each shot. This type of helping compounds most chipping errors and can be avoided my using the proper club during different situations.
Helping any golf shot usually results in a mishit. I have learned over the years that I have a good chipping stroke that I should trust all the time. To be fair, I actually do trust my chipping stroke until my brain engages and takes me down the wrong rabbit hole.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
2 thoughts on “Stop Helping Your Chip, It Is Hurting Your Score”
Chipping is all about bounce engagement and ball contact. Trajectory control is about face (how open), stance (how open), ball position in the stance (how far forward), and swing speed (how fast). We can try and hit ball first, or we can try and come in more shallow with a face that’s at least somewhat open and engage the bounce and bruise the ground as we come into contact rather than take a divot. The latter being the preferred method for consistency and the former being something we should only attempt when the lie allows.
When it does, you can hit a nice tall shot that way with an open face. It won’t rise as fast or carry as far as a full swing off the lead foot with the same amount of loft presented nor will it have as much spin, but it’s still going to jump up. Still going to check up. You’re just not going to get quite the amount of forgiveness. You can’t swing quite as shallow. You might have issues keeping the bounce engaged at all and dig in. It’s a higher risk shot. But it’s not that hard to do with practice and a lie that allows it.
As for lower body movement I would disagree with that. Keeping the lower body still is great in the sand when you need to hit sand not ball and so you’re working to come in relatively steep, allowing the lower body to pivot through the swing will allow for a shallower attack angle and easier engagement of the clubs bounce. A little knee flexing is fine. Good I was say.
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Your explanation of how you chip for your game sounds about right. There is so much information in your text it might take some a great deal of time to dissect it.