What Should The Movement Of Arms Be During Chip Shots, Golf Tip

To understand what the arms should be doing during the chipping stroke, we first need to understand what constitutes a chip shot.

A chip shot is played from around a green and sees the ball rise into the air before landing on the putting surface and releasing out to the hole. The chipping technique also has defining features. In a chip shot, the club shaft shouldn't reach a point where it travels past parallel to the ground. If it does, the wrists will begin to hinge and create extra power, this is where the pitch shot begins. To understand what the arms should be doing during a chip shot it is better to look at the technique in full.

How to execute a chip and run shot.

  • Hold the club slightly further down the grip for more control.
  • The club face should be square to the ball-to-target line and the shoulders parallel to this line. The feet and hips, however, should be slightly open to the target line. This is because the chipping swing is short and the golfer doesn't have the time to build up enough momentum to turn the hips through impact. This is why golfers should pre-set the impact position.
  • The ball should be positioned just back of center in the stance with 60% of body weight on the front foot. The hands should also be opposite the front thigh. By leaning the shaft towards the target slightly it will be easier to create a clean contact and descending blow on the ball.
  • After taking the correct set up, the swing is mostly controlled with the shoulders rocking back and through. The grip should be kept as light as possible to increase feel. The shoulders, arms and club shaft lean towards the target to create a 'y' shape.
  • As the shoulders rock back, the arms, wrists and hands stay connected with each other. This means the arms move back under the control of the shoulders, the wrists move back under the control of the arms and hands rock back and through.
  • At impact, the left arm and back of the left wrist should be held firm to ensure there is no flicking of the club head at the ball.
  • The hands return ahead of the club head at impact and the shoulders, arms, and club shaft maintain the Y shape.

During the chipping shot, the arms only rotate very slightly on the way back and through although the movement is so slight the golfer shouldn't be aware. Using the arms as the connecting factor between the shoulders and hands will produce more consistent results and achieve more par saves on the course.

What Should the Movement of the Arms Be During Chip Shots?

What Should the Movement of the Arms Be During Chip Shots?

Every good golf game is built on the foundation of solid play around the greens. If you don't have a reliable short game, you simply won't be able to shoot low scores – there is no other way to say it. The long, powerful drives that professional golfers hit tend to make the highlights, but it is really their play on and around the greens that determines who wins the tournament on Sunday afternoon. By focusing on making progress with your short game, you can quickly improve your overall level of play moving forward.

With this in mind, we are going to focus this article on the topic of chipping. Specifically, we are going to talk about how your arms should be working while you swing your wedge back and through. Unfortunately, chipping technique does not tend to be a strong point among amateur golfers. In fact, most amateur golfers have rather poor chipping mechanics, and they are unable to get the ball up and down regularly as a result. If you are currently struggling with your chipping, it is our hope that the information provided in this article will help you move in the right direction.

Before we get into specific chipping tips and techniques, we want to point out that your goal should be to make your chipping motion as simple as possible. A good chipping swing is one that repeats over and over again, all day long. If there is an inconsistency in your chipping from one swing to the next, it's going to be hard to manage your distance control properly. If you can take the time to build a simple and reliable chipping action, you will be far more likely to produce consistent results on the course.

Also, it should be mentioned that you want to work toward variety in your chipping game as well. Since the terrain that you find around the greens will vary from hole to hole and course to course, you don't want to find yourself stuck with only one or two kinds of shots. Instead, you should have a wide range of short game shots that you feel comfortable using when the time is right. By having options, you can assess the situation in front of you and pull out the perfect chip shot at just the right moment. The best way to develop variety is to start with a basic chip shot and then work from there on making minor changes. Once you trust your standard chipping motion to produce good results, you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make alterations that cause the ball to do different things.

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

Putting Your Arms in Charge

Putting Your Arms in Charge

For most of the shots you hit during the course of a round of golf, you are going to use your entire body to produce a quality swing. For example, let's think for a moment about what has to happen for you to swing a driver. You need to rotate the core of your body, you need to swing your arms, you need to set your wrists, and you need to release your hands through the hitting area. Also, you need to have stable footwork, hold your head still, and more. In other words, it's a long list. With chipping, the list gets much shorter.

Some of the points that relate to your driver are still relevant when chipping, such as keeping your head still. However, a chipping motion is much simpler than a full swing, and the swinging action of your arms is going to be at the heart of it all. Learn how to swing your arms properly when chipping and you should be able to make solid contact over and over again.

The first thing to know about the movement of your arms when chipping is that it should be rhythmic from start to finish. You should swing your arms back and through at an even pace, and there should be no sudden movements anywhere in the action. Allow the arm swing to start slowly back away from the ball, and transition smoothly from backswing to downswing to keep everything in order. Countless amateur golfers make sudden moves while hitting chip shots, and those shots usually go wrong as a result. Learn to use a smooth tempo and you'll go a long way toward improving your chipping performance.

Of course, since chip shots are played from close to the green, this arm swing is not going to be very long. You'll probably only need to swing a few inches in either direction in order to produce enough power to reach the target. With such a short arm swing, it is going to be tempting to rush through the shot just to get it over with. This is the same mistake many golfers make when hitting short putts – they make a quick, rushed stroke just to send the ball on its way. If you are going to succeed with your chip shots, you need to resist that temptation and make a smooth arm swing, even though the swing is not a long one.

Another key to a quality arm swing when chipping is to keep the club moving through the ball and into the finish. It would be a shame to give up on your swing at the last moment, as all of the good work you have done up until impact would be wasted. Don't fall into that trap. During the forward swing, maintain your confidence and swing the club through the ball cleanly without any hesitation. To do so, you'll need to keep your arms moving at a steady pace. If you pick up speed at the last moment, the shot will be hit too hard – and if you lose speed, the ball will either come up short, or you'll miss-hit the ball and be left with a really ugly outcome.

One of the great things about working on your arm swing around the greens is that this skill can actually help you improve other areas of your game, as well. For example, learning how to maintain an even rhythm during the takeaway and transition of these shots should help you make better full swings with the rest of your clubs. Apply the same goal of keeping a smooth tempo to your full swing and you will perform better in that category. Also, swinging the arms properly when chipping is quite similar to doing the same thing while putting. As your chipping improves, don't be surprised if your putting performance comes right along with it.

The Supporting Cast

The Supporting Cast

Swinging your arms in a rhythm manner, back and through the ball, is a great first step toward hitting nice chip shots. However, your arms can't do it alone. As we mentioned above, there are not as many parts to bring together when chipping as there are in a full swing, but there are still a number of other points to consider. You want to have a well-constructed chipping motion that brings together a few different elements into a cohesive unit. In this section, we are going to highlight a few keys that should complement your smooth arm swing nicely.

  • A slight wrist hinge. There should not be as much hand and wrist action in a chip shot as there will be in a full swing (unless you are trying to hit a specialty chip shot – more on that later). With that said, you will want to use a little bit of wrist hinge in order to hit down on the ball nicely through impact. As your arms swing back, allow your right wrist to hinge just slightly back onto itself. This will set the angle for your chip shot, and you should then release that angle at impact to hit down cleanly through the shot. When done properly, you will make clean contact and the ball will pop easily up into the air.
  • Stable head position. If you read much golf instruction, you already know that maintaining a stable head position is an important key on nearly every shot in this game. That is certainly true when playing chip shots. You need to keep your head perfectly still as your swing your wedge back and through. Since your chipping swing is relatively short, it should be easy to keep your head still – as long as you don't look up early to see where the ball is going to go. It takes discipline to keep your head still as impact arrives, so work on this point specifically during practice. Remember, it isn't going to do you any good to look up early anyway, so you might as well keep your head down and prioritize a clean strike.
  • A solid base. As we discuss the items you must check off in order to hit good chip shots, it would be a mistake to overlook your lower body. Sure, your lower body isn't going to work in a dynamic manner when chipping like it does while hitting full shots, but it's still important to have everything in the right place. Specifically, you need to have flex in your knees, and the big muscles of your legs need to be engaged in the stance. Building a solid base is going to make it easier to remain stable as you swing. If you've been using a poor stance previously when chipping, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how solid you feel simply by doing a better job of engaging your legs.
  • Soft grip pressure. This last point is one that you won't usually hear when talking about chipping technique, but it is quite important. If you can manage to maintain a light grip pressure on the handle of the club, it will be easier to control the distance of your shots. At address, be sure to wiggle the club back and forth a couple times before starting your swing, just to make sure your fingers are relaxed and comfortable.

As compared to the full swing, it is relatively easy to build a proper chipping motion. In fact, if you commit to working on your chipping technique during upcoming practice sessions, you should see progress in the near future. It takes much longer to see progress when working on your full swing, which is why it is so exciting to spend time working on your short game – it's possible to see lower scores almost immediately!