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Question on Chipping:

As much as I hit down on the ball on a short chip shot, I cannot get the ball to go up. I don't know what to do. Can you help me?
--Brian L. from Hubbardston, MA

Hi Brian,

Thanks for your question. What makes the ball go up is a combination of loft and a descending blow. If you don't make a descending blow, but are rather swinging up, you won't hit the ball flush in the face and utilize the loft. The typical results in this case would be bladed or low shots as you would be probably striking the ball to high (at the equator or above) and with the leading edge of the club face.

According to what you said, you do hit down on the ball so that is probably not the issue. That leaves us with exploring loft. Before we do that however, I want to make sure that when you say you are hitting down, that you are hitting down in the right spot. What I mean by that is make sure that you are hitting the ball first and then taking a small divot after the ball. I call this dumping the club on short game shots because that's all you essentially need to do. Wedges are heavy enough and have significant loft that you simply need to just let gravity do it's job and "dump" the club on the ball, don't force it. Let it free fall.

As far as loft is concerned, you can have a problem if you are either taking too much loft off or trying to add too much loft through the strike.

For many good players, they actually get their hands too far ahead through impact and this of course de-lofts the clubface. To avoid this make sure you are not starting with your hands too far forward at address. Also, try making sure that when you return to the ball to strike it that the butt end of the grip is pointing at your belly button not to the left of it (for right handed players).

If you have the opposite problem and flipping and trying to add loft is what you are doing, that will often result in bladed or skulled shots like I mentioned previously. For this we would actually want you to try to make sure that your hands lead the clubface through impact. Once you hinge your wrists on your backswing try maintaining that hinge by leaving it alone and simply moving the club with a slight pivot towards the target. In other words, take your hands out of it.

I hope this helps and gives you a few things to try. Be sure to check out the Chipping Section on the site for more drills. If you haven't already, make sure to start plugging in your scores and practice sessions so we can better help you reach your goals.

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