Hello golfers and welcome to another tips & tricks. This week we are going to look at chipping. I have had a lot of requests recently about how to play in the wet conditions and long grass. Chipping can save you (and cost you) lots of shots around the green, especially when the ground conditions are unfavourable. Club selection and the correct technique are key to getting that ball close to, or in, the hole. We are going to look at a normal chip shot with loft this week so we want the ball to pop up in the air over an obstacle.
The first thing to consider is club selection. If we want to go over an obstacle we need a club with loft. Some people carry up to 64* of loft in a lob wedge. Personally I only carry up to a 56* wedge. For lots of people a 58* or 60* can really help get the ball in the air quickly. Something like a pitching wedge doesn’t really have enough loft for this type of shot and the actual shape of the golf club won’t help either.
The shape of a wedge can really help or hinder depending on certain factors. Wedges are designed with a certain amount of what we call bounce. Wedge bounce is the angle created between the leading edge and the lowest point of the sole or trailing edge. This is the area of the club that hits through the ground as it contacts the ball. The bounce prevents the leading edge from digging as it slides through the turf or the sand. Since the bounce causes the club to slide across the ground rather than dig, you have a greater margin for error when chipping. A wedge with high bounce (10 to 14 degrees) helps keep the club from digging in soft conditions. A low-bounce wedge (4 to 8 degrees) is best in firm conditions, where you want the club to dig a bit.
If you don’t feel like your wedges are giving you the best chance or would like some new ones to boost your confidence come and find me and we can discuss options.
There are two things we are going to try and implement when chipping with loft. The first thing is the direction the club moves and the second is how the club makes contact with the ground. Take a look at the video to see the kind of things were looking out for and then I’ll explain how to practice it.
When I watch people chip they often try to help the ball in the air. They also try to guide the club towards the target for too long.
We are going to practice working the club away from the target keeping the clubhead in front of the body in the backswing. Most people drag the club around the body sending it under plane. On the video most people would swing the club under the red stick instead of over it. This will help the club move in a more neutral direction back through impact.
If you haven’t got a stick you can use a basket on the driving range and place it in line with the ball and about two feet away from the target.
In the follow through, watch how the clubhead and the hands keep moving around the body as I turn through the shot. You don’t want to feel like the club is being guided towards the target for too long as this will compromise the strike and start direction.
This tips & tricks is titled “Cut the Grass” and that’s exactly what we are going to do. People get scared of making contact with the ground when it’s wet and muddy but trust me, you have to learn to cut the grass. In the video you can see I used a mat to demonstrate how long the club is in contact with the ground. The contact actually starts just before the ball and continues for about 6-8 inches. If you keep the club making contact with the ground for longer you can utilise the bounce that we mentioned earlier. This will increase the margin for error and dramatically improve ball striking when chipping.
Try to maintain wrist structure when chipping and keep the clubhead below the height of the hands for as long as possible. If the clubhead lifts higher than the hands quickly you have tried to lift the ball and the club will either dig or bounce off the surface decreasing the change of a good strike and good distance control.
Overall when chipping with loft we are looking to cut the grass with the club moving in a good direction into the backswing and follow through. Try to move the clubhead away from the body in the backswing and turn the body to face the target in the follow through. Keep the club cutting the grass and sliding under the ball through impact using the bounce on the club.
Use the correct club. Don’t be scared of lofted clubs, they’re built to help you!
If you would like to practice chipping we have the perfect facility. The Mill practice green is perfect for improving the strike and flight of chip shots. I love teaching on The Mill. It can be a great learning environment for all levels of golfer.
If you would like some help with your short game book a lesson with me HERE
See you all soon!