Help To Get The Golf Ball Closer When Chipping 1

You have played with that good player at your golf club who just manages to get the ball up and down from everywhere around the green.

They manage to judge every element required and execute the shot to perfection. How? What do they judge and measure and how can you achieve this same level of skill and performance. This tip is designed to help you chip the golf ball much closer to the hole every time.

Fault - Many golfers do not judge a chip shot with the same amount of care or precision as they would a putt, therefore missing out on many important factors that are required to be accurate from such a short range. Time spent in preparation is vital in the overall success of a chip shot.

Fix - Measure the important outside factors that go into the shot in hand. Take your time to actually read the green and how the ball will react once it has made the putting surface. Does the green slope from right to left, left to right, downhill or uphill? Does the shot have a combination of a few different slopes and undulations. Once you have accurately measured and read the contours of the green, you can then start to calculate the perfect landing spot for the chip shot you have, allowing for the slopes and contours.

Make sure that on a right to left shot, for example, the landing spot has been taken into consideration. The landing spot should be moved to the right of the target to allow for this slope. If you have judged that the chip is uphill once on the green, the ball will most likely slow down as it starts to roll on to the green so the landing spot must change to make sure that the uphill slope has been taken into consideration. Measuring the most accurate landing spot depends on the club you have chosen plus how fast or slow the green speed is.

As a rule when choosing a landing spot, use this rough percentage guide of the ball in the air time against the ball rolling percentage and adjust it slightly depending on the conditions:

  • Lob wedge landing ratio 70-30 (70% in the air - 30% predicted roll)
  • Sand wedge landing ratio 60-40 (60% in the air - 40% predicted roll)
  • Pitching wedge landing ratio 50-50 (50% in the air - 50% predicted roll)
  • 9 iron landing ratio 40-60 (40% in the air - 60% predicted roll)
  • 8 iron landing ratio 30-70 (30% in the air - 70% predicted roll)
  • 7 iron landing ratio 20-80 (20% in the air - 80% predicted roll)

Top tip - Aim to control the chip so that the golf ball finishes around the flag as opposed to knocking the flag out of the ground. Imagine you are playing a lag putt that you want to get inside three feet. If you are faced with a chip shot you feel you can hole, then go for it. There is no better feeling than holing a shot off the green.

How to Get the Golf Ball Closer When Chipping

How to Get the Golf Ball Closer When Chipping

There is only one goal you need to keep in mind when hitting a chip shot – getting the ball as close to the hole as possible. Of course, the best result would be to actually chip the ball into the hole, but you should be happy as long as you chip it close enough to set up an easy putt. The ability to get 'up and down' in just two shots from a variety of locations around the green is going to dramatically improve your ability to shoot low scores. One of the biggest advantages that professional golfers have over amateurs is their ability to save par after missing the green. Work on your own chipping performance to play more like a pro in this category.

In this article, we are going to cover a variety of topics related to chipping the golf ball close to the hole. You should not attack this challenge from only one angle, as there are a variety of pieces which make up this overall puzzle. Certainly, the physical technique you use to chip the ball is going to be an important element. Also, the strategy you use for these shots, and the mental approach you have toward your chipping, are going to be important as well. By the end of this article, you should have a good understanding of the various ways you can work to improve the reliability of your chipping game.

Before you can even think about becoming a better chipper, you first need to accept the fact that your short game will require practice if it is going to improve. As you probably know, most golfers spend far more time practicing their swings than they do practicing the short game. On any given Saturday, you are likely to find the driving range at your local golf course quite crowded – while the practice putting green is nearly deserted. If you are truly committed to developing a better overall game, practicing your short game should not be seen as an optional activity.

One of the inherent challenges present when chipping is the fact that you are going to face a variety of different lies as you go. Sometimes, you will draw a great lie which leads to a very easy shot. In other cases, you will find a terrible lie which makes it difficult just to get the ball on the green. To make sure you are prepared for as many different lies as possible, play your practice shots from a number of different locations. If you only chip from the fairway grass in practice, you won't know how to deal with other circumstances when they arise on course.

All of the instruction below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Refining Your Technique

Refining Your Technique

We are going to start our discussion on chipping the ball closer to the hole by taking a look at your technique. It is true that technique is only one part of the puzzle, but it is a big part, so it is a natural place to begin. Once your technique is in good condition you will be able to move on to the other topics knowing you have a strong foundation in place.

The good news here is that chipping is much simpler than the full swing, at least as far as technique goes. As long as you have a few basic points in place while chipping the ball, you should be on the right track for success. Improving your full swing may require lessons and the help of a professional teacher, but that simply isn't the case here. Go through the list of key technical points below and keep them in mind during your next practice session.

  • Play from an open stance. This is one of the key mechanical points for chipping the ball close to the hole. By using an open stance, the club will naturally swing across the ball from outside-in – and that path is going to make it easier to get the ball up off the ground. You don't need to have your feet set wide open to the target line, but they should be open at least a few degrees. Using this type of setup will also give you a nice view of the target at address, which is an advantage that should not be overlooked.
  • Set your wrists in the backswing. You may have heard previously that you should use a 'putting stroke' motion to chip the ball. In other words, you would simply rock your shoulders to move the club through the hitting area. In general, this is bad advice. You need to engage your wrists in the chipping motion, which is not something you would do when holding a putter. Hinge your right wrist back slightly as you move the club away from the ball, and then release that hinge at impact to pop the ball toward the target. It will take some practice to get used to this technique, but it can be highly effective once you get comfortable.
  • Keep your hands moving. If you are at all nervous about the outcome of your chip shot, you may wind up slowing your hands down through impact as a result. It is important that you find a way to avoid this mistake. When your hands slow down, you will run the risk of hitting the shot fat. Keep your hands moving at a steady speed from right to left and keep them moving until after the ball is gone. It does require some confidence to keep your hand speed up, so be sure to put in plenty of practice time in order to develop your confidence fully.
  • Hold your head steady. You want to keep things simple while chipping the ball. One of the best ways to do just that is to keep your head as still as possible from the start of the swing on through to the finish. Since you aren't making a big shoulder turn like you do in the full swing, there is really no reason for any notable head movement. Keep your eyes on the ball as you swing the club, and don't turn your head to look at the hole until the ball has left the club face and is on its way to the target.

There is nothing about proper chipping technique that needs to be complicated. In fact, you will be far better off if you keep things simple. The four points listed above are relatively simple to put into action in your game, but you do need to work on them one at a time until they all come together nicely. Once you have spent some practice time putting all of this together, you can look forward to a future where you won't have to think about your chipping technique at all. You will have built solid technique into your game, and you can then move on to just planning a smart shot and executing it perfectly.

Making a Plan

Making a Plan

With solid technique in place, the next thing to think about is how you are going to use that technique to get the ball close to the hole. It certainly isn't good enough to just aim at the cup and hope for the best – you have to take time to carefully plan out your shot from start to finish. This is a step which most amateur golfers skip, making it no surprise that the average player struggles to get up and down very often.

Planning a chip shot is quite similar to planning a putt, only there are a couple more variables to consider. The similarities include needing to read the slope of the ground, needing to evaluate the speed, and deciding where you would like to miss (if you do miss). Since you are already familiar with these tasks from your putting experience, they should be pretty easy to translate into your chipping game as well.

There are two ways in which planning a chip shot is radically different than planning a putt. The first is the need to read the lie of the ball. On the green, you should always have a good lie, so this point is a non-factor. That is not true when chipping, however, as your lie will be different each and every time. Take a moment to analyze the way the ball is resting in the grass and then plan your shot accordingly.

The other issue is the matter of required carry distance. When putting, the ball rolls from start to finish, but a chip shot is going to carry some distance in the air before landing and rolling the rest of the way. The distance required to carry the ball onto the green – or at least onto the fringe – is going to say a lot about the kind of chip shot you play. If your ball is close to the green when chipping, you can opt for a bump and run which stays low to the turf. On the other hand, a bump and run isn't going to work when you need to carry the ball over some long rough before landing it on the green. Check out your necessary carry distance and build that into your overall shot plan as well.

To help you master the chip shot planning process, we have laid out a step-by-step process below. Train yourself to go through this process each time and you are almost certain to set up shorter putts for par.

  • Take an overview. As you are walking up to the ball, take an overall look at the challenge you are facing. Does anything jump out at your right away? For instance, if the ball is on a severe slope, or there is a big slope between you and the hole, it will be clear that you are facing a difficult shot. Once you have an overall impression of the shot, you can then get into the details.
  • Read the green. Just like when putting, you are going to read the green along the expected path of travel for your shot. Is the ball going to curve right to left as it rolls, or left to right? Is there an uphill slope in the area of the cup, or will the ball be running away? You should read your chip shots just as carefully as you read your putts.
  • Evaluate the lie. Stand over the ball and take a close look at the lie. If you are sitting in the fairway cut, this will be quick and easy, as you should have a good lie. On the other hand, a ball sitting in the rough may require a bit of evaluation before you can settle on a course of action.
  • Pick a landing spot. As the second to last step, you are going to pick a landing spot on the green for your chip shot. This is a crucial step which is skipped by countless players. Knowing exactly where you want the ball to land will help you focus on a target as you prepare to make your swing.
  • Choose your club. Believe it or not, this is the last step in the process – even though many players move this step to the front of the line. You don't want to pick a club for your chip shot until you have a clear plan in place for how the shot will be executed. Knowing your landing spot, and having an accurate read for the green, you can now decide which club is going to allow you to send the ball up close to the hole for an easy putt.

Proper planning is critical in golf. No matter what kind of shot you are trying to hit, you always need to have a great plan in place to pull that shot off successfully. When chipping, use the steps above to lay out the shot you intend to hit, and then trust your technique to get the job done.

The Right Attitude

The Right Attitude

Attitude can play a big role in whether or not you are a quality chipper of the golf ball. Of course, attitude is important all over the golf course, so it is not a surprise to learn that it is critical around the greens. With your mind in the right place, you will become a better chipper instantly – without making any other changes. Once you combine a good attitude with great technique, there will be almost nothing that can stop you.

The list below contains a few key points to keep in mind with regard to your attitude on chip shots.

  • Let it go. In most cases, you have hit a poor shot to wind up in a situation where you need to chip. For instance, you have missed the green with your approach shot from the fairway, or you have punched the ball up near the green after a bad drive. Whatever the case, you may not be in the best of moods when you arrive for your chip shot. You are likely disappointed in your previous swings, and your frustration may be building from a day filled with poor shots. It is essential that you prevent this frustration from spilling over into your chipping performance. There is nothing you can do about those previous shots, except let them go and try to do better next time. For now, you are faced with a chip shot, so let go of those other failures and execute the chip to the best of your ability. Not only will having a good attitude help you to hit a nice chip shot, you may actually be able to turn around your day thanks to confidence gained in the short game.
  • Expect success. One of the best things about practicing your chipping is the confidence you will build during those practice sessions. You will see plenty of quality shots come off of your wedge, and you will start to believe more and more in your ability to get up and down. Sure, there will be the occasional poor shot, but the quantity of good shots will naturally build your belief. On the course, think back to those practice successes and plan on hitting good chip shots each time. Letting your nerves get in the way of good chipping is a major risk in the short game, but that shouldn't happen if you have a wall of confidence to fall back on.
  • Enjoy the challenge. Once you start to see positive results, you may find that chipping turns into one of your favorite parts of the game. Instead of dreading the task of hitting a difficult chip shot, you may come to embrace the opportunity to make a great par save. Turn your thinking around on this kind of shot and enjoy the chance to show off your great short game to the other players in your group.

Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude on the golf course. Golf is an extremely hard game, and sometimes the difference between success and failure can be as simple as being in a positive frame of mind. Think positively when you stand over your chip shots, rely on your preparation, and expect to see the ball pop up out of the grass and roll out perfectly toward the cup.

Finishing the Job

Finishing the Job

Hitting a great chip shot is only one half of the up and down equation. To finish the deal, you also need to make the putt. Even if you chip the ball up close to the hole from a difficult lie, you still won't walk off the green feeling good if you miss the putt and make a bogey anyway. Knowing how to sink a high percentage of your short putts is a crucial piece of the short game puzzle.

If you have struggled previously with short putts, you are not alone. This is a notoriously difficult part of the game for amateur players, which is why we have offered the helpful tips below.

  • Keep your head steady. There may be no more important tip with regard to short putts than this one. It becomes easy to miss short putts when you move your body around unnecessarily during the stroke – and that movement starts with your head. Do your best to keep your head perfectly still and steady for the entire time that the putter is in motion. Keep your head still and down, and only look toward the hole after the ball has left the club face.
  • Make a short motion. You are only rolling the ball a few feet, at the most, when facing a short putt, so there is no need to swing the putter on a big arc back and through. Keep your stroke short and focus on accelerating through impact. While the stroke is going to be relatively short, you don't want to rush it – take your time, move slowly at the start, and focus on the task of hitting your target line.
  • Forget the break. Unless you are on a particularly steep section of the putting surface, you can usually forget about break when hitting a short putt. Aim your short putts for the middle of the cup and hit them firm to take out any break which may be present. As long as you strike the putt properly, the ball should drop in the back of the cup time and time again.

Chipping the golf ball close to the hole will help your game in a number of ways. It will allow you to save strokes, of course, and it will also allow you to save stress by setting up short putts to finish off your par. Work on your chipping performance with the help of all the tips included in this article and you will be a better player for the effort. Good luck!