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Chipping Tips

Video Tips on Chipping

How can I hit low flighted, high spinning pitches with little to no divot? Higher pitches with medium spin are no problem for me. So I have my basic pitch shot.
I am inconsistent with my chips and short pitches. Can you offer suggestions?
I've been having trouble lately with hitting my intermediate range pitches heavy (25-100 yard). I suspect an early release is the problem. Any tips or drills to create more consistency in this part of my game? Wyatt BoothRaleigh, NC
Why do I almost always chip the ball short of the hole?
How and when should you put with sand wedge?
What is the best approach to hitting a ball sitting down around the green to a short sided pin to prevent the club from sliding under the ball and missing it completely?
I am a 15 HCP that should be a 10 or 11, but I have a very poor short game. How can i avoid shanking my chip shots? I do not seem to know the correct motion for that swing.
How does one stop the wedge from digging in and hitting the shot chunky?
Most of the time, my chip shots don't get up. They wind up sailing across the green especially on short chips.
Can you explain what the bump and run is and when I should try to use this shot around the green?

Premium Tips

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  • The Lower the Loft, The More Roll

    When you are hitting bump and run shots (greenside chips) you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a club. You can actually use any club in your bag to hit a bump and run. It just depends on how much carry and roll you need. The lower the loft on the club the more the ball will roll. The more the loft on the club, the more you will get backspin and the less the ball will roll out.

  • Keep the Ball as Low as Possible For Bump & Runs

    Practice keeping the ball as low as possible with the bump and run. Keeping the ball low keeps the ball out of the wind and will help to get the ball down and on the green as soon as possible. This way you can use the green to help funnel the ball towards the hole. To hit a shot low, you also delay your release so working on keeping the trajectory down is beneficial to those who have a tendency to flip.

  • Lean Left to Hit Down

    Make sure to lean onto your front foot when you are hitting greenside chip shots. It is important to have your center of gravity, your head and your sternum in front of the ball to help you hit down on the ball and keep the trajectory low. If you lean back or fall back through the strike the ball will roll up the clubface and you will scoop it. Leaning back can also cause you to hit the ball fat or skull it across the green.

  • Forward Press in Moderation

    It is o.k. to have a slight forward press with a bump and run shot, but everything in moderation. Avoid pressing too much. If your hands start too far forward of the ball they may want to actually back up as you hit it causing a flip or a scoop. The reason we forward press the hands is to help keep the hands ahead through impact and to deloft the clubface.

  • Standing Open is a Preference, Not a Must

    For chipping you can stand square or slightly open with your feet. Standing open is a preference, not a must. In most cases it is not necessary and setting up square to a ball and contacting it in the center of the face is best. Setting up open has the benefit of shortening the backswing and forcing an outside in club path. This can help you hit a short cut shot, but can also result in a pull and inconsistent strikes.

  • When Chipping Feet Should be One Club Head Apart

    Stand with your feet only one club head apart for this shot. Turn your club head sideways and put it in between your heels to measure. A tiny stance can help you make a tiny stroke. Standing narrow will also help keep you centered over the ball which is important in creating a downward strike with short game shots. When your stance gets too wide it's easy to make too big of a swing and get caught on your back foot.

  • Keep Your Pivot Going

    When chipping, make sure to allow your hips and shoulders to pivot through the shot. When your pivot keeps moving and stays ahead of your hands you won't flip the club through impact. When your hips and shoulders stop moving, the energy has to go somewhere so it runs into your hands causing them to accelerate too early. This results in an early release which can cause fat shots, thin shots and scooped shots.

  • Keep the Club Head Below Your Knees When Around the Green

    For all green side bump and runs focus on keeping your club head below your knees and close to the ground on the back swing and the finish. Keeping the swing compact will help you keep control and keep the trajectory down. The idea is to have minimum air and maximum roll for control on these shots. A low swing with little angle in your wrists will help provide low, rolling shots.

  • Finish With Front Wrist Flat

    When hitting greenside chip shots finish with the back of your front wrist flat and your back wrist still bent. This will help you prevent a flip or early release of the clubhead. When your front wrist cups through impact the result is often weak scoopy shots. Flipping the wrists can also result in fat and thin shots as your clubhead will reach the bottom of it's arc too soon.

  • Go For Minimum Air, Maximum Roll

    For most bump and run chip shots imagine 1/3 carry in the air and 2/3 roll on the ground. This of course can vary a bit, but the idea is to have minimum air and maximum roll. When you keep the ball low you simply have more control, don't have to worry about the wind affecting the flight and can use the green to funnel the ball towards the hole. Throwing a ball up into the air is much more risky.

  • Choke Up For Control

    When chipping, choke up and inch or two for better control over the club head. This holds true for all short game shots and perhaps sand shots more than more than any other. Choking up allows you to keep your hands ahead of the clubhead and maintain control. When the head of the club passes your hands you are no longer in control of what it does and it's easy to hit fat, thin and inconsistent shots.

  • Take a Tiny Divot When Chipping

    When chipping, make sure to hit down on the shot and take a tiny divot. It's important to let the club get to the ground. Be careful not to fight gravity or to try to help the ball up! Remember to get the ball to pop back up in the air you need to hit down to use the loft on the face. The loft on the club will shoot the ball back up into the air for you.

  • Keep Your Hands Ahead of the Club Head

    When chipping keep your hands and the grip of the club slightly ahead of the club head throughout the stroke. This will help you to deloft the face and get a nice trajectory for a bump and run. Keeping your hands ahead also allows you to maintain control of the clubface and prevent fat and thin shots. Finishing low and with a flat front wrist will help you to keep the handle leading the clubface.

  • Keep Your Feet Quiet

    Keep your feet quiet on the bump and run. The only thing that should move is your back heel which should come up just a bit in the finish. Your weight should remain on your front foot throughout. Overactive legs can result in weak and inconsistent strikes. Remember it's a little shot than requires you to stay centered and compact.

  • Ball Position Affects Loft and Spin

    With a bump and run you can play the ball at various points in your stance. There are no rules, only preferences. The further back of center you play it, the lower the ball will come out and the less backspin and roll you will get. Playing it forward of center will allow the ball to check up quicker and have less roll out. In most cases a middle ball position works fine and can even result in more consistent strikes.

  • Make a Pendulum Motion

    The chipping motion should be a pendulum motion just like your putting stroke. Have quiet, still hands and allow the big muscles of your back shoulders and core to move the club. Feel like you are hitting the shot with your pivot and that your hands are quiet and are simply being pulled by the pivot. When the little muscles of the hands and wrists get highly involved, consistency becomes a challenge.

  • Get a Couple of "Go To" Clubs

    Although you can use every club in your bag to chip I recommend perfecting two. Maybe try a pitching wedge and a 7 iron. Once you master these they can be your fall back clubs. Experiment with all the other clubs in your bag in practice and if you feel confident enough on the course, use them. If not, use your fall back clubs.

  • Don't Stop Your Hands

    Make sure to keep your hands accelerating towards the target. Stopping the hands too soon or decelerating in a short game shot can be detrimental resulting in chunked or skulled shots among other things. Remember to keep your pivot moving. Inconsistent strikes and an early release of the hands are often a result of a player's pivot stopping. Keep your pivot moving to keep your hands moving.

  • Set Your Weight on Your Front Foot

    For greenside chips position your weight 80% on your front foot and 20% on the back. Having your weight forward creates a downward blow. It's important to hit down on chip shots to get the ball to pop back up and spin. When your weight is back either staring at address or because you fell back through the swing your club will bottom out too soon in it's arc. The result is unfortunately either hitting behind the ball or blading it.

  • Use Your Putting Stroke for the Putt-Chip

    For the putt-chip, simply use your putting grip and posture. Think of this shot as no different than a putt really other than you have an iron in your hands. The shot will come off quite a bit softer than a bump and run and is one of the most simple if not the most simple shot in golf.

  • Let the Clubhead Go Down

    When hitting greenside chip shots (bump and runs) focus on a nice pendulum swing just like when you are putting, but make sure that the pendulum descends down in to the ball. Try to feel that the triangle you form at address with your shoulders, arms and hands remains intact and does not change throughout the stroke. Simply rock the triangle back and forth and let it run into the ball. As long as the clubhead goes down into the ball as opposed to up, you will hit a nice clean shot with spin.

  • Put Your Focus on the Landing Spot

    With all chip shots, focus on your landing spot. It's very easy to get too caught up on the flagstick. That is where you want the ball to end up, sure, but it isn't where you want the ball to land. Your intermediate target or landing spot should be the spot you are focused on. When going through your pre shot routine make sure to pick the best spot for the ball to land on the green. Depending on what club you are using and how high or low you plan on hitting the shot, this spot could be one that is near or far.

  • Toe Hits Are Softer

    When hitting a putt-chip, the more you hit the ball off of the toe of the club, the softer the ball will come off. This is a good idea for those slick down hill shots from the fringe. If you want the ball to come off super soft and then grab, a toe hit can come in handy. Just be aware that a strike off of the toe will cause the face to open a bit. I would recommend off setting this by aiming just a bit left of your target.

  • Monitor Backwing Length to Control Distance

    When chipping, let the length of your back stroke help control your distance. You can always switch clubs and go down in loft to get more roll out of the shot, but within that you still need to be able to control the length of the pendulum motion. A larger pendulum is going to send the ball further just as it does when you are putting.

  • Use More Wrists and Less Arms on the Hinge & Hold

    For a Hinge and Hold shot barely allow your arms to swing on the backswing. The backswing should be made mostly by hinging your wrists. Simply set your wrists, make as little arm swing as you need for the distance at hand and pivot forward dropping the club on the ball. The angle that you set in your wrists helps to pop the ball up unlike the bump and run shot which is a low running shot.

  • Your Pivot is Your Engine

    Allow your hips to keep pivoting towards the target. Think of your pivot as the engine for your swing. It's where you get your power and acceleration. The faster you pivot, the faster the clubhead will come through the ball. If your pivot stops or slows too soon, your hands will take over. This forces an early release of the clubhead. Loss of power and control result.

Chipping Tips from the Ask Maria Archive

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