Column: Chipping tips to save your score

Chilliwack Golf Academy instructor Jennifer Greggain pens a bi-weekly column in the Progress.

Whether a seasoned tour-veteran, or a novice who is new to the game, every golfer understands the importance of the short game.

I refer to chipping as the easiest way to lower your score.

The key to success in chipping is solidness of contact, and here are three ways that will help you make solid contact more often.

First of all, be wise in choosing the type of chip shot to use, a decision that will vary based on the type of lie you’re facing, and also how much green you have to work with.

Generally speaking, low chip and run shots are easier to execute than higher shots. There is also more room for error with low chip shots than high shots.

But I still see amateurs hit high lofted shots when it is not necessary. Golf is difficult enough. Keep in simple.

Next, whether selecting a high or low chip shot, you must have a good set up position that allows contact to happen at the bottom of the swing arc.

For all chip shots, try shifting your weight 60 to 70 per cent to your lead foot, and keep it there for the entire shot.

There is not a significant amount of weight shift on a chip shot.

Also be sure to set your hands slightly ahead of the club-head, allowing the grip rather than the club head to control the shot. On all short game shots, try gripping lower on the club, as this gives more controllability of the club, and stand with your feet close together.

Finally, to help with consistent ball striking, try hitting chip shots with very little or no wrist movement. Often times our nervous system tries to help the ball get in the air by using the wrists to “scoop” up at the ball. Although it feels like this motion creates loft on the ball, the actual result is inconsistent contact.

This golfer may experience topped shots that go too low or too far across the green, or, shots that are struck heavy, ending up short of the target.

To practice solidness of contact in a chip shot, place one tee in the ground and another tee in the end of the grip.

As you take several rehearsal swings, be sure  the bottom of the swing arc strikes the tee in the ground, and the tee in the end of the club points up your lead forearm through impact, and in your finish position.

Furthermore, when on the course, make sure during your practice swing that you are striking the ground.

This gives a good feel for how the shot should be struck as the club is moving in a downward motion toward the ball.

 

Jennifer Greggain teaches golf to adults and juniors at the Chilliwack Golf Academy. She played professionally on tour for over 10 years, including 2 years on the LPGA. She was named the 2010 CN Canadian Women’s Tour Low Teaching Pro of the Year, and is now the lead instructor of the Sardis Golf Academy.  She can be contacted at 604-798-9805 or at Jennifer@chilliwackgolf.com

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