Stop Thinning Golf Chip Shots Now A

One of the most hated and frustrating golf shots is the short chip shot you fire straight across the green with very little height or control.

A thinned chip shot can have devastating effects on your score and your confidence when chipping on to the green. A thinned shot is one where the golf ball has hit the leading edge of the golf club, therefore producing no height at all and because of this the golf ball shoots forward rather than upwards. All the power that would have created loft now just creates forward momentum sending the golf ball across the green. This tip is designed to help you to create a cleaner strike with more accuracy and precision on short chip shots.

Fault - A player when faced with a short chip shot can often have the tendency to try and create height by increasing the dynamic loft by leaning back and scooping. The problem with this type of movement is that it leaves the leading edge of the golf club very exposed to the golf ball. This linked in with a chip shot hit on the way up equals a recipe for a thinned golf shot.

Fix - To fix the dreaded thinned golf shot, the golfer needs to apply slightly more weight favouring the leading side when striking the golf ball, to impart a slightly more downward blow into the golf ball when chipping. The first thing that needs changing is the set up position as this can have a huge influence on the impact with the golf ball. When setting up to a chip shot, make sure the first thing you have correct is the ball position in relation to your feet. To maximize the best level of contact, the golf ball wants to be placed in the middle of the stance or slightly forward of the middle.

From this point, address the golf ball with a fairly narrow stance to minimize lateral movement. Place your body weight slightly favouring the front leg (55%-60%) and keep the weight in the same place throughout the swing as this will help to create a slightly downward blow to guarantee a good strike. Once you have set up as above, focus on the swing and what should be used to strike the golf ball correctly. Work on minimizing the temptation to use the wrists too much during the swing. Aim to use very little wrist hinge during the backswing. Work on no wrist hinge on the way through. If you focus on brushing the surface with the bottom of the wedge, the ball will pop up into the air and will land softly on to the green.

Top tip - Make sure your backswing and follow through are symmetrical in length.

The ability to get up and down from around the greens is one of the most valuable skills a golfer can possess.

Stop Thinning Golf Chip Shots Now

Every player would love to hit as many greens in regulation as possible, but missing the green from time to time is inevitable. On the PGA Tour, a player is doing quite well if he manages to hit 75% of the greens in regulation – meaning he is still missing the green around a quarter of the time. As an amateur golfer, you likely won't be able to live up to that standard, so chipping is always going to be a prominent part of your game.

One of the keys to keeping your handicap down is turning those missed greens into pars instead of bogeys. Using only two shots to get down from off the side of the green – instead of three – can go a long way toward improving your average score. Of course, there are two pieces of the up and down puzzle to consider. First, you need to hit a quality chip shot, which is the main topic we are addressing in this article. Then, once the chip shot is completed, you'll need to knock in the putt. At the end of this article, we are going to add a few short putting tips to help you finish off your up and down efforts as often as possible.

In order to chip the ball close to the hole, you need to be able to make clean contact. Even though chip shots are played with small swings, it can be quite difficult to make solid contact at impact. If you hit the ball thin or fat, it is almost inevitable that your distance control will be off the mark. While fat shots are a major problem in the short game for many amateur golfers, this article is going to be focused on eliminating thin shots. Hitting a thin chip shot is extremely frustrating, as you'll know that the ball is likely to go too far as soon as it leaves the club. In fact, not only is the ball likely to race past the hole, it may even continue on until it leaves the other side of the green. Or, if you were trying to carry an obstacle like a bunker before reaching the green, a thin shot may fail to even make it to the putting surface in the first place. Whatever the case, the lesson here is simple – you need to avoid thin contact if you want to hit great chip shots.

All of the content below is written from the perspective of a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please reverse the directions as necessary.

Why Does This Happen?

Why Does This Happen?

Once you get into a pattern of hitting thin chip shots, it can be hard to stop. As you stand over the ball preparing to chip, you'll feel like each shot is going to be hit thin – and most of the time, you'll be right. Confidence is critical in the short game, but it is going to be in short supply if you have recently hit a couple of thin chips or pitches.

So, what causes you to hit your chip shots thin? Before you can solve the problem, it helps to fully understand what the problem is and where it comes from. With the points below, we hope to bring some clarity to this issue.

  • Early head movement is common. One of the classic causes of thin chip shots is early head movement. As your club swings forward through the ball, your head should be perfectly still. If there is any movement at all above your shoulders, it is going to be difficult to make clean contact. Specifically, if you happen to lift your head up early – as you may do if you are in a hurry to see where the ball is going to go – you'll run the risk of hitting a thin shot. As your head lifts up, your entire upper body is likely to follow. This movement is going to raise the level of the club as it swings through the hitting area, and thin contact is all but assured. Learning how to control the position of your head during your chip shots will allow you to take a big step in the right direction. Remember, it isn't going to help if you look up early anyway, since your eyes cannot control the travel of the ball. Once the ball has left the club face, it is completely out of your control. So, resist the temptation to look up early and instead focus on executing your technique properly.
  • Overactive right hand is a problem. Another frequent issue which will lead to thin contact is too much use of the right hand during the chipping motion. Ideally, you will be able to keep the back of your left wrist firm and flat through the hitting area, providing stability at the moment of impact. This is not going to happen, however, if you are too aggressive with your right hand. For the most part, your right hand should just be along for the ride while chipping, only getting involved at the very last moment to pop the club through the ball and into the finish. If you let your right hand do too much work early in the forward swing, the club is going to be moving up away from the turf by the time you reach the ball. This kind of move is a recipe for thin contact. Focus on the stability of your left wrist as a key to help keep your right hand out of the way.
  • Trying to help the ball into the air. Not all causes of thin chip shots are mechanical in nature. Sometimes, thin chip shots are caused by nothing more than faulty thinking. On the vast majority of your chip shots, you need to be thinking about hitting down through the ball at impact. As the club moves down through impact, the ball will pop up into the air, carrying a short distance before landing and rolling the rest of the way to the hole. However, if you decide that you need to 'help' the ball up into the air, you might run into trouble. Some players think this way, and they hit up on the ball at impact, rather than hitting down into the turf. When hitting up, you'll always be dangerously close to a thin shot. The loft on your club is going to do the work of getting the ball airborne for you, so don't worry about providing it with any help. Just hit down, let the loft work, and watch the ball fly up toward your target.

It is entirely possible that the reasons for your thin chip shots are not represented on the list above. However, these three points are some of the leading issues that lead to thin chips, so they are a good place to start your search. Think about chip shots you have hit thin recently to see if you can assign blame to any of the potential causes above. Once you figure out why you are prone to thin chips, you'll be that much closer to a solution.

Getting Back to Basics

Getting Back to Basics

It is often the case that getting back to the basics of your golf game will allow you to break away from mistakes that keep popping up over and over again. That is certainly true when it comes to chipping. If you have been having trouble lately with thin chip shots, one of the best things you can do is to work on the basic fundamentals of your chipping technique.

The list below highlights the main fundamentals you should monitor as you practice.

  • Eyes on the ball. Okay – so this one seems a little simplistic, but it is really important. We already mentioned that you can wind up with thin chip shots if you let your head move up and out of the shot early, so a great to avoid such a fate is by keeping your eyes trained on the ball from start to finish. One way to make this easier is to draw something unique on your ball that you can focus on while swinging the club. It doesn't matter what it is, just make sure to draw it in a couple places so you can always see it from your address position. This might seem like a small thing, but simply keeping your eyes on the ball throughout your chipping motion will go a long way toward helping you make clean contact.
  • A stable stance. You need to be able to control your body throughout your chip shots, which means building a great stance before getting started. When you build a stance for your full swing, you need to be thinking about movement, because your legs play an integral role on full shots. That is not the case when chipping. When you are around the greens, you simply want your legs to support your upper body by remaining still and stable. So, feel free to use a wide stance, and put plenty of flex in your knees, as well. Improving the stability of your stance can quickly take you in the right direction in terms of chipping performance.
  • Keep the club moving. It is common for amateur golfers to 'give up' on their chip shots, letting the club decelerate through the hitting area. When this happens, it is likely that the chip shot will either be hit fat or thin. Once you change directions from backswing to forward swing, you should be committed to accelerating the club cleanly through the ball and into your finish. If you feel like you are going to hit the ball too far if you accelerate through impact, that simply means you've made too long of a backswing. Shorten it up so you can afford to accelerate without sending the ball well beyond the target.
  • A relaxed grip. This is one of the hidden keys to great chipping. When you relax your grip, you will take some of the power out of your hands and you'll be forced to move the club with your shoulders instead. This is a good thing. Too much hand action in your chipping motion is a recipe for trouble, especially when the right hand takes over early in the swing. As you stand over the ball at address, take a moment to think about your grip pressure and make sure it is nice and relaxed. You aren't making a big swing when chipping, so it doesn't take much grip pressure to maintain control over the club.

As soon as you start having trouble with thin chip shots, your first course of action should be to return to the fundamentals of your technique. Work on the basics during practice, including the points listed above. There is a good chance that simply working on your fundamentals will solve this problem, without any further action being necessary.