2008-02-01 / Sports

Golf Instruction- Fundamentals Of The Chip Shot

By Joel Garyn

(Garyn is a USGTF Golf Professional. You can contact him for lessons at 347-404-3751.)

Go to any practice area and look around and what do you see? People are practicing their golf game and what part of the game are they working on? Mostly, they are swinging away with their driver or some long club.

Let's go over a round of golf. Obviously there are 18 holes with par 5's, par 4's and par 3's. On the par 5's you tee off with driver, par 4's with a driver and par 3's with a club to fit the distance of the hole most likely an iron. So, you will use your driver at the most 14 times because most courses have four par 3's. What is the most practical part of your game you should be work on to make your game for lower scores?

Chipping, pitching and putting practice the correct way 70% of the time and 30% for your long game. If I had to choose one area of my game to devote most of my practice time it would be putting and then chipping. A 225 yard drive counts as one stroke and a 3- foot putt counts as one stroke.

The Chip Shot: An important factor for the chip shot is club selection. Many golfers use just their 7- iron or pitching wedge. For chipping you will be using irons ranging from the 5,6,7,8, and 9 irons, pitching wedge and the sand wedge. You should not use below a 7-iron, because it becomes difficult to control the distance of your shot with a 6-iron or less. When chipping use, the same swing with each club and let the difference in the loft of the club determine the distance the ball will go.

Fundamentals of the Chip Shot: Rather then aligning your feet parallel to your target as in a square stance, your stance is slightly open (left foot). This same stance should also be used for the other short game shots we will discuss in a future lesson.

Weight Distribution: At address, your weight should be placed primarily on your left leg. You should have 70 percent of the weight on your left leg and 30 per cent on your right leg (reverse for left handed golfers). This distribution should not change during the chip shot.

Grip: Grip down on the club so your hands are just above where the grip ends and the shaft becomes visible. This is suggested for all shots around the green to give you better feel and control of the club. Also, grip the club lightly to minimize tension.

This area of your game requires your complete attention so we are going to continue next week with ball placement, the correct backswing, and forward swing. We will discuss visualization that will determine the flight of the ball to a predetermined target on the green and the ball rolling in the hole or near

the hole for a tap in!

The Chipping Setup: The most common fault I see

with amateurs and their chipping is that they try to scoop the ball at impact. The main problem with scooping is that it encourages inconsistency. To scoop at a chip shot, you have to add extra wrist movements. This is asking for trouble. A good mental image you should consider when chipping is to create "Y" at address and keep it throughout your stroke.

To do this you need to have your hands ahead of the ball at address, with the ball back in your stance. When viewed front on, your lead arm should be directly in line with your club shaft. Focus on maintaining

this position throughout your chipping stroke. The only way to do this is to eliminate your wrist movement. Much like putting, chipping is a shoulders-only motion.

Remember this the next time you're out practicing and incorporate it into your golf game

Save the above article for future reference when you go to the practice range or short game area.

If you have any questions please e-mail me at itchgolf@ aol.com or call (917) 404-3751.

Have a great week.

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