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Answer How can I stop scooping my chip shots

In many ways, the proper technique for chips is the same as it is for iron shots. In fact, you may find it helpful to think of a chip as a shorter version of a wedge or 6-iron hit from the fairway.

It all goes back to this tried-and-true tenet: Hit down to get the ball up

Golfers who miss-hit their chips are often guilty of trying to scoop the ball off the ground. Instead of letting the clubs loft do its job, they flick the right wrist to slide the club underneath the ball. The typical result is a “chili dip”
or fat shot; sometimes, they catch the ball thin and send it whizzing past the pin; other times, they succeed in scooping the ball, only to watch it fall pitifully short.

Sound like anyone you know? Well, theres good news: Its quite easy to go from lousy chipper to deadly marksman. Correct fundamentals and a little practice are all it takes.

Heres the basic setup and swing for a standard chip shot from just off the green:

  • Place your feet no more than 6” – 12” apart and the ball positioned in the center of your stance.
  • Square the clubface to the spot where you want the ball to land.
  • Your hands should be ahead of the ball, with the end of the club pointing at the inside of your left hip pocket.
  • As you take the club back, focus on keeping the wrists relatively firm (i.e., with little to no hinge). This is called “maintaining the triangle” formed by the hands, arms and chest. These parts should move in unison.
  • Swinging down and through, try to mirror your backswing without letting the wrists break down. Picture returning the clubhead and shaft to their address positions, with your hands ahead of the ball at impact.
  • Point the back of your left wrist at the target on the follow-through to assure that your wrists dont take over the swing.

The idea is to strike the ball with a descending blow, just like an iron shot. Its all about setting up properly and preventing the wrists from fouling things up when you swing.

The first time you hit a chip with the correct technique, youll know it instantly. Contact will feel crisp, the ball will fly low and land with a little backspin. Practice until youve got it grooved, then progress to perfecting your trajectory and distance control.

A good short game can level the field for golfers who lack distance, or give a big edge to those who can bomb it from tee to green. This website features reams of short game assistance, including these handy tips:

Use the Chip and Run for Consistent Shots

How to Hit a Simple Flop Shot

Improve Your Short Game by Limiting Club Options

Break Wrists Early on Short Pitch Shots

Dave Pelz: Adding Science to the Art of the Short Game

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This is a quick path to poor chipping. By leaning the shaft away from the target, you add unnecessary loft to the clubface and increase the likelihood of catching the shot fat. At best, youll manage decent contact, but the ball will fly too high and land short. Get those hands ahead at address and return them there at impact.

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This has the same effect as setting up with your hands back – it adds loft and diminishes your ability to strike the ball on a downward clubhead angle. Play the ball in the center of your stance for standard chips. You can play it as far back as your right foot and still be effective.

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Quiet hands are one key to good chipping. Not only does “maintaining the triangle” (see above) eliminate the dreaded scooping action, it greatly aids consistency and distance control. Overuse of the hands and wrists leads one to rely too much on feel.