Chipping Tip: Keeping My Head Still

One of the important chipping tips I discovered is to keep my head still. Not down, but still. There is huge difference between the two and I will expand on that later. Making solid contact in the middle of my club face is always my goal. And over the years I have tinkered many different stances, grips, head positions, and ball positions. Yet, my successes continue to be hinged on one important swing trait: keeping my head still.

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Feeling Validated By Padraig Harrington

Over the past dozen years or so, my golfing friends have asked for advice about their swing. Of course I am not an expert or a teaching professional, but they felt comfortable asking what I saw. In many cases there were multiple issues, but there was one piece of advice I told most players. It was not earth shattering, but would solve many of their issues if they would just remember to follow it for every swing. This piece of advice was just validated my golf professional Padraig Harrington!

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Remembering How To Golf

I am not sure if any of you have been forced to take time away from your game, but I experienced 4 months of force rest. During this period I tried to keep up with my game, but it was evident I was unsuccessful in my efforts. In my time back, I realized that I forgot how to play golf. During the 6 or 7 rounds I played, I had some good shots and many poor shots; but yesterday I seemed to grasp a fundamental lost in the back of my mind. What a difference it made and I am so glad that it is back. Continue reading

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!