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!