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Hitting the ball solidly is no less important around the greens than it is from long distance.

Chips that are struck poorly, on the club’s toe or heel, will start offline and fall short. Chips hit thin will skitter past the hole or peter out too quickly, while fat shots are simply a disaster.

Because a chip is basically a miniature iron shot, you must strike the ball with a slightly descending blow. There’s a certain amount of precision involved in putting the club on just the right spot, and this easy drill will improve your hand-eye coordination. It’s kind of fun, too:

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  • Spread a handful of coins – pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters -- around a piece of fairway or your home carpet.
  • Take the club you chip with most often, the pitching wedge for example, and practice nipping the coins off the surface.
  • You’ll discover that you must clip the very back edge of the coin to get it airborne. Hitting behind it won’t work, and mishits will barely leave the ground.

If you’re fresh out of pocket change, improvise by chipping acorns, marbles, poker chips or similarly small objects. Once you’re making consistently clean contact, practice chipping the golf ball. Clipping coin off a tight spot will make chipping the comparatively huge ball seem like a piece of cake.