Hello lades and gentlemen and welcome to this weeks Tips & Tricks. This week we’re going to look at my favourite shot in golf and one that can save you tons of shots on the course. Chipping is one of my favourite parts of the game and requires imagination as well as practice. The chip and run shot is, in my opinion, the easiest shot in golf and done correctly can bring that wonderful feeling of chipping in to the hole from just off the edge of the green, saving you that dreaded 6 footer to save your par or bogey.
There is a time and a place for this shot so when should you use a chip and run shot and what club should you use?
I hear people say that they use one specific club for doing a chip and run shot and that is fine but you have to realise that you’re slightly limited and not maximising forgiveness when doing this. Try to choose a club that gives a similar outcome to a good strike, even if you were to slightly mishit it. I have chipped in lots of times with bad strikes because I have chosen a club for maximum forgiveness. If you choose a club with too much loft you will require a bigger swing meaning that if you chin it the ball will go flying past the pin.
I try to choose a club based on the lie and then a club that requires the smallest length of swing. Sometimes the ball will be sat down in the rough requiring a more lofted club and a firmer swing but if the lie is good I feel more confident controlling a shorter swing. That’s why I find this one of the easiest shots in golf because I find a smaller swing more controllable with less to go wrong. For this shot I use everything from a pitching wedge through to a 7 iron depending on how much roll I require but my favourite club to use from the edge of the green for a chip and run is a 9 iron. Don’t ask me why, I just always seem to end up playing a shot that requires that amount of loft and roll.
For this type of shot you only require a moderate amount of loft and don’t need to get the ball high in the air.
Set up with the ball position central or slightly towards the back foot. Take a narrower stance, inside a shoulder width. Slightly lean the body towards the target. This will encourage a downward strike. Stand tall and almost over the top of the ball with your head. Then keep the club low and rock the shoulders maintaining the structure through the arms and wrists. Try to imagine the club working away from the target and towards the target almost on a straight line but on a slight arc. Keep the club low to the ground in both backswing a follow through trying to make contact through the grass for a long as possible. Keep a constant tempo to the stroke and don’t try to “hit at it”.
If you do this the ball should gently pop up in the air a few yards in front of you and then have a small bounce forward, releasing towards the target.
Take a look at the video for an example of how to play this shot with an 8 iron.
Even though this shot in theory is very simple it requires practice. The ground conditions will dictate how far the ball rolls so this shot could be different at different courses and at different times of the year. When the grass is longer I might use an 8 iron instead of a pitching wedge because it won’t roll as far. Try to practice the same shot with lots of different clubs and see which one works best for you.
In my opinion the short game is the most important and I don’t see enough people practicing it. Just think, you can hit a couple of very average shots to the edge of the green and then chip it in to save your score. If you’re taking more than 3 shots from the edge of any green you’re throwing shots away.
If you would like a short game lesson on the mill area give me a shout, I love teaching chipping.