The golf yips are without question the most devastating fault in golf as it has caused many a golfer to revert to long putters, swapping which way they face the shot and can actually cause the most extreme cases to give the game up.

Stop the Golf Yips 1

Many top players have suffered the yips and there really is no reason why someone develops this fault. It is mainly caused by a lack of confidence and over time it is the only thing the golfer can think about. The yips are a muscular spasm that takes place in the hands at impact which cause the club face to twist and the ball can easily miss the hole. The yips tend to take place when it is a short putt as the expectation level is high.

The best way to cure the yips is to make a dramatic change, such as a grip change or putting style change. The best grip change for the yips is the claw grip. The reason the claw grip is so good is because it takes the bottom hand out of the equation so that the putting stroke can start to flow again.

Claw grip - great for nervous putters:

  • Place the hand closest to the target on the top of the grip with the palm facing the side of the grip and the back of your hand facing the target. Place your thumb down the centre of the putter grip which normally has a flat front to the grip. From there, hold the club in the fingers, not dissimilar to the normal grip, and place the hand on the side of the grip. As a check point, you should see your thumb is straight down the middle of the grip.
  • The hand furthest away from the target is applied on to the club in an un-conventional way. Turn your hand so that the palm of your hand is facing your body. Use the thumb, index finger and middle finger to hold the golf club in a claw like fashion by placing the thumb at the back of the golf grip and the index finger and middle finger on top of the flat part of the putter grip.
  • Keep the hands relaxed and tension free. Aim to hold the golf club at about a 5 out of 10 grip pressure.
  • This grip will take some time to get used to so do make sure you practice this technique on the practice putting green before taking it out on the golf course.
  • Many golfers find it hard at first to judge distance control, however once practiced, the feel will come back.

Stop the Golf Yips – Putting and Chipping

Stop the Golf Yips – Putting and Chipping

It is appropriate that the word 'yips' has four letters – because it is certainly considered a dirty word in the world of golf. Most golfers don't even like to talk about the yips, as they are concerned that the mere mention of this issue will cause it to pop up in their game. To be sure, there is nothing fun about going through the yips. Not only will this problem do damage to your scorecard, it will also make this game less enjoyable as a whole. And, if golf isn't fun, it really isn't worth playing in the first place.

In this article, we are going to look at how you can stop the yips when they do pop up in your game. There are two areas of the game which are particularly prone to seeing the yips – putting, and chipping. This article is going to deal with those two categories separately, as the yips can look quite different from one to the other. By the end, we hope you have all of the information you need to work on eliminating the yips from your game once and for all.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, what are the yips, anyway? Basically, the yips can be described as an unnecessary – and maybe even involuntary – movement of the hands and clubs which occurs immediately prior to impact. Even if you aren't a trained golf teacher or a highly accomplished player, you can easily spot the yips when they take place. The club will move suddenly right around the moment of impact, and the shot will be negatively affected. It can be hard to watch someone with the yips as they play, since you will be able to see the struggle written all over their face. Of course, if you are currently dealing with the yips, or if you have dealt with them in the past, you don't have to watch another person to see the struggle – because you already know what it feels like first hand.

Most people think of the yips as something that is caused by nerves or a lack of confidence, but that is not always the case. The yips can come from a variety of places, and it is important to know why you are having trouble with the yips before you can search for an appropriate fix. In the next section, we are going to examine a number of different potential yip causes which may arise in your game. Take time to think through these causes before determining what it is that has led you to the yip issue.

All of the content in this article is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Causes of the Yips

Causes of the Yips

As mentioned above, we are going to get into many of the various potential causes of the yips here in this section. If you do have the yips, there is a good chance that the underlying cause of that issue if found somewhere in the list below.

  • Nerves. Okay, so this is the big one that everyone assumes is the root cause of the yips in golf. And it is certainly true – getting nervous can cause you to succumb to the yips at the worst possible time. When you are nervous, you will tend to hold onto the club tighter than necessary, and you might use that tight grip to move the club suddenly right around the moment of impact. Also, it is easy to lose your tempo when you get nervous, which is another way the yips can make their way into your game. It should be noted that you don't have to be playing golf for big stakes in order to find yourself dealing with the yips as a result of nerves. All golfers feel nervous from time to time, even if they are out on the course alone. As long as you care about the shots you hit and the scores you shoot, there will always be the possibility of nerves.
  • Short game struggles. Sometimes, the yips can develop gradually after a period of time where you struggle with your short game both on and around the greens. If you have not been seeing very many successful outcomes from your chip shots and putts, you might start to doubt your own abilities – and the yips may jump up and make things even worse. Every player struggles with the short game from time to time, but some are better than others at putting those struggles aside in order to get back on track. If you let your short game problems get in your head, you might soon find yourself dealing with the yips as well.
  • Poor technique. Without the right technique in your putting stroke and your chipping motion, the yips will always be lurking in the background. Good technique in the short game allows you to keep your hands relatively quiet through the ball, which is the best way to make sure you don't fall victim to the yips. Unfortunately, most amateurs don't have good technique in this area. If there are significant mechanical mistakes within your short game, you could wind up with the yips as you try anything to send the ball in the direction of the hole. Golfers often think that the yips require some elaborate, complicated fix – but often it is as simple as investing the time necessary to build a better game from a fundamental standpoint.
  • Tough conditions. It can also be the case that your yips have been brought on by something outside of your control. For example, you might have a great short game under normal conditions, but you could get a little tight when the course gets firm and fast. On a quick downhill chip to a firm green, you might get the yips as you try to hit the shot just perfectly. This is especially a problem for players who rarely venture away from their home course. If you usually play the same golf course under the same conditions, but suddenly play a new course somewhere else – such as on a golf vacation – your short game might not come along for the trip. Only players who are experienced in switching golf courses frequently will be able to rise to this kind of challenge successfully.

There are many possible reasons you could wind up dealing with the yips. Take some time to think about when your yips started to appear, what you are feeling right before your short game shots, and how often the yips get in the way of your performance. With some careful analysis, you should be able to figure out why your yips started in the first place – and that is an important step on the road to getting rid of them.

Yips with the Putter

Yips with the Putter

When most people in golf talk about the yips, they are talking about the putter. This is where the yips are most commonly seen, and this is where they are also the most obvious. When you yip a three-foot putt and miss off to one side or the other, it is easy for everyone in your group to see. The whole group is gathered around the hole to finish out their own putts, so no one is going to miss seeing your mistake. Not only are yips on the putting green highly frustrating, but they are embarrassing as well.

Fortunately, it is possible to work your way through the yips. If you would like to wipe the yips out of your putting game as quickly and effectively as possible, please consider using the tips below.

  • Relax your grip pressure. One of the best things you can do for your putting stroke is to relax your grip pressure prior to starting the putter in motion. As mentioned earlier, bad things can happen when you get tight over the ball. Instead of tightening up, make it a point to relax as completely as possible while settling into your stance. Relaxing your hands is going to take away their influence over the movement of the club – which is exactly what you want to have happen. With your hands less involved, you will be free to swing the putter back and through using the motion of your shoulders. This is an ideal putting technique, and it is one which is not susceptible to the yips.
  • Hit more short putts in practice. It is natural to be nervous over a short putt if you haven't faced one since the last time you played. Many golfers neglect their short putting during practice sessions, and the results of that neglect play out on the course. Every time you practice your game, make sure to carve out at least a few minutes to work on your performance from short range. Line up a few golf balls at the three-foot mark and knock in as many in a row as you can. This will do wonders for your confidence, and you may soon find that your yips have disappeared thanks to the belief you have in your ability to make these tricky putts.
  • Make a dramatic change. The yips are generally a mental issue, rather than a physical one. You need to 'get out of your own head' if you are going to solve this problem. For that reason, consider making a big change in the way you putt, just to distract your mind away from thinking about the yips. For example, you could decide to use a totally different grip on short putts than you use from a longer distance. Try putting cross-handed from inside of five-feet, while maintaining your usual grip from farther away. This grip change will give your mind something to focus on (other than the yips), and your performance will likely improve. After a period of time, you may be able to change back to your previous grip without having a reoccurrence of the yip issue.
  • Make a longer backstroke. When you see a player who is struggling with the yips, it is common to see that player make a relatively short backstroke. In a hurry to get the putt over with, the player will take the putter head back only a short distance before quickly moving it forward into the ball. This kind of hurried stroke is a perfect place for the yips to develop and thrive. By lengthening your backstroke, you will add some tempo to the motion and you should lessen the chances of a sudden movement at impact. Of course, you will need to practice this longer backstroke in order to get comfortable before you try it during a round.

The putting yips can cause you to think about quitting this great game. That would be a shame, but it speaks to how frustrating it can be to deal with this issue. Before you think about hanging up your clubs for good, get out to the practice green and work on some of the fixes highlighted above. With hard work, you should be able to get yourself over this issue and get back to enjoying golf once again.

The Chipping Yips

The Chipping Yips

Not talked about nearly as often as the putting yip, the chipping yips are frustrating just the same. And, in a way, dealing with the yips when chipping can actually be even more damaging to your scorecard. When you have the yips with the putter, it usually results in just one wasted stroke from time to time – you miss a three-footer, for instance, but you tap the next one in and move on.

However, when chipping, a poor shot caused by the yips can lead to more than just a single wasted stroke. For example, if you are trying to chip over a bunker and onto the green, but you hit the shot fat due to the yips and the ball winds up in the sand, you could waste two or even three shots in the end. The stakes are generally higher when chipping, so there is even more motivation to correct this problem right away.

Just as in the previous section, we have listed some tips below which we hope will help you conquer the chipping yips. Take a moment to read and understand these points, and then get down to work at your next opportunity.

  • Make a longer backswing. Again here, a longer backswing can help you get away from the yips. The story is the same when chipping as it is when putting. With a short backswing, you will make a rushed transition and it is likely that your right hand will take over the action. Forcing the club head through the ball with the right hand will typically lead to an ugly outcome, either a fat shot or a thin one which shoots across the green. You don't have to make a long backswing to hit a solid chip, but you do need to make one which is long enough to give yourself enough time to execute your technique properly. If you think that your overall technique is in good condition, try making a longer backswing to see if that adjustment alone will cause the yips to go away.
  • Play from a middle ball position. Many golfers who wind up with the chipping yips place the ball too far back in their stance at address. If you make that mistake, you will likely wind up using too much right hand in an effort to lift the ball off the ground – and a poor shot will be the result. By moving the ball up to the middle of your stance, you will be able to swing through freely while letting the loft of the club do the majority of the work. There are exceptions to this plan, of course, as you will still need to put the ball way back in your stance when trying to hit a low bump-and-run. However, for most 'normal' chip shots, using a middle ball position is going to help you avoid the yips.
  • Use less club. Chipping with a highly-lofted wedge can be difficult. If you are constantly trying to chip with a sand wedge or even a lob wedge, you might find yourself struggling with the yips just because you have miss-hit too many shots over the years. Miss-hitting those shots will wear down your confidence, and the yips can frequently be found in places where confidence is low. To get out of this cycle, try hitting most of your chip shots with a club that has a little bit less loft, such as a pitching wedge. This kind of club will be easier to strike solidly than a club with more loft, so your confidence should begin to come back one shot at a time. Before long, you will believe in yourself once again around the greens, and the yips will be a thing of the past.

As always, practice is going to be crucial to your success. If you spend time practicing your chipping, and you focus during that time, you should see positive results and steady progress. If you ignore your chipping, on the other hand, the yips are likely to persist. For a brighter golf future, get to work on this important area of the game as soon as possible.

Responding to the Yips on the Course

Responding to the Yips on the Course

Even the best golfers are prone to experience the yips from time to time. In fact, you will even see it on the professional tours on occasion. Once you have hit a poor shot during a round as a result of the yips, there is nothing you can do to get that shot back. However, you can control how you respond to the mistake, and your response is going to say a lot about the quality of the rest of your round.

The first thing you need to do is to keep the mistake in perspective. Sure, you would have preferred to not have the yips interrupt your round, but that one poor shot probably didn't cost you too much in the end. Think about the big picture of your round, and try not to make a big deal out of the error you have made. If you let the mistake get bigger and bigger in your head, it is going to have the ability to destroy the rest of your day.

The other important step to take is to think logically about the poor shot to figure out what happened. Instead of getting mad and losing your temper, take a deep breath and think through the shot step by step. What were you trying to do with the ball? Where did the swing go wrong? Were you feeling nervous? Ask yourself a series of these kinds of questions and answer them honestly. Taking this kind of thoughtful approach to the issue is going to be far more productive than tossing your club to the ground in a fit of frustration.

Like any other adversity you face on the golf course, it is important to respond to the yips with as much positive energy as possible. Getting down on yourself will never help you play better, and it won't help you have more fun, either. Lean on a positive attitude to help you get through the frustrating moments on the course, whether they are related to the yips or some other mistake.

At the end of the day, golf should be fun. After all, this is a recreational activity, and it is one which requires a significant time and financial investment. If you are going to be a golfer, you should be having fun – but it is hard to have too much fun when the yips are affecting your game. We hope the tips throughout this article will help you remove the yips from your putting and chipping play as quickly as possible. Good luck!