Top 3 Tips on Golf Chipping
Short game is the foundation of any great golfer, and it all begins with chipping. The better you are at chipping, the closer you will be able to hit the ball to the hole, and the easier you make it for yourself with the upcoming putt. I have “tinkered” with all sorts of chipping styles throughout the years, and throughout this section I will cover how to hit different types of chip shots. There is no real answer when it comes to the perfect chip shot, it all relies on the distance from the hole and what obstacles are in your way. I realize there are plenty of articles and books that talk about hitting the “proper” chip shot, but today we will be covering what I use in my game. If you apply the techniques I cover in the following section, you too will see an improvement in your chipping.
The first type of chip shot I want to cover is the long bump-and-run shot. This is vital when you have a lot of green to work with, and need to run the ball back to the hole. I do not, however, recommend the bump-and-run shot when you have an obstacle between you and the hole – like a bunker, a lot of rough, or even water. This shot is designed for longer chips, which allow for you to run the ball the entire length of the shot. For this shot I recommend using anything between a gap wedge and a nine iron. This will take some loft out of the shot, and keep the ball on the ground and running. To figure out which works best for you, simply tinker around with each club until you find what you are most comfortable with. I have used all of these in my game, but I generally stick to the gap wedge when hitting a bump-and-run shot. This is quite comfortable for me because I only use a lob wedge for every other chip shot I attempt. The gap wedge has a very similar feel to it, but lacks the loft of the lob wedge… which means I can get the ball out and running much quicker.
The next type of chip shot is the flop shot. For this shot, I highly recommend using a lob wedge (about 60 degrees in loft). This will allow for you to not only pop the ball up into the air faster, but to add some spin as well. This shot is basically the opposite of the bump-and-run, and requires much more practice to perfect. When hitting a flop, you will first want to open the club face up, which will allow for you to add even more loft, which ensures you hit the ball high enough to stop it quickly. I also want you to open your stance way up, and swing across your feet. This will cause you to swing more down on the ball, which allows for you to not only pop it up higher, but add more spin as well. You will generally not use the flop shot too often throughout the round, unless you have a very short distance to travel, and some sort of obstacle in your way. The ideal moment for a flop shot is when you are hitting over a bunker, or if you are short-sided and have a small amount of room on the green to land the golf ball.
The final chip shot to work on, is, well the normal chip. This is the shot that comes when there are really no obstacles between you and the hole, and you have a decent amount of green to work with. For this shot I generally will use a lob wedge. As I mentioned before, I like to use my lob wedge for the majority of my shots. I am sure I learned this from watching Phil Mickelson as I grew up, and if you are a golf fan at all you know that he is second to none when it comes to chipping. For the normal chip, there is nothing too special here. Take your normal stance, and keep your wrists firm throughout the chipping motion. If you break your wrists, then you bring a world of trouble into your shot… so keep them firm throughout. The main thing I want you to focus on when working on your normal chip shot is actually following through the shot. I can’t count the times I have watched someone approach a chip, but stab at it and not follow through with their swinging motion. This is a big no-no, but can be corrected by mentally focusing on the follow through, and honestly practicing until you become more comfortable.
In all, chipping can be perfected, but you have to be willing to invest the time to learn each type of shot, and when to use each type of shot as well. I suggest going to your local course and investing a few hours into each type of shot, until you become comfortable and confident with each.