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how to chip in golf

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Short Game

Chipping looks so easy when you see a good player doing it. On the other hand, it might be difficult to see someone struggle with these little pictures.

Making strong touch is the most important thing. Why? Because the club’s not moving fast enough to keep going if you hit the ground—you chunk it halfway there. If you catch the ball too thin, it will skip past the green. Contact is crucial. Here’s how to do it correctly. —In collaboration with Peter Morrice

CONCEPT: SET THE LOW POINT
Solid strikes result from the low point of the downswing occurring in the correct location. You want it to be at the ball or slightly in front of it so you hit the ball first, then brush the turf.

Golfers that have contact issues often set up badly. They lean away from the target out of reflex to help the ball up. Then they press their hips toward the target since they’ve been told to put their weight forward at address. These moves drop the right side of the body lower than the left side, which shifts the low point of the swing behind the ball. This is a primary contributor to pieces and skulls.

SETUP: LEVEL THE SHOULDERS
Use a 52- to 56-degree wedge for a basic chip. Play the ball in the middle, with your weight forward and your left shoulder over your left foot. Because your trunk is the heavier portion of your body, you should move forward with it rather than your hips (above right).

Here’s the deal: Keep your right arm straight and grip with your right hand first. The right shoulder should be elevated. You’re using your right arm to measure the distance to the ball. Most people do it with the left arm, and when the right arm straightens coming down, the club hits the ground too soon. Finally, add your left hand while keeping your shoulders level.

See the images above. I’m tipped back in the “no” arrangement (above left). I’ve pushed the handle and my hips toward the target. I might feel “forward,” but my club will bottom out behind the ball because my right side is too low.

In the “yes” setup, I’ve gripped with my right hand first, keeping the shoulder high (above right). My whole body is leaning to the left—and ready to go.

SWING: FOLD AND UNFOLD
Once you’ve mastered the setup, you won’t have to battle yourself to strike the ball before you touch the ground. Your distance to the ball has been established by your lengthy right arm and high right shoulder. Fold the right arm, hinge the left wrist is a solid backswing notion. This raises the clubhead, allowing you to strike down slightly upon contact. Don’t let the right shoulder move up on the backswing; if anything, feel as if it turns a little to the inside (above).

Allow your right arm to unfold on the downswing, keeping the elbow tucked tight to your side (below). Feel as though your right shoulder doesn’t drop any lower than it did at address. You’ll receive a precise stroke on the ball if you do so and retain a little bend in your right wrist (no flipping!).

Todd Anderson, No. 9 onGolf Digest’s 50 Best Teachers, is the director of instruction at TPC Sawgrass’ PGA Tour Performance Center in Ponte Vedra Beach.

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