Do chip shots intimidate you? Are you constantly thinning it, or duffing it? Maybe the ball just doesn’t roll on the green as far as you’d like it to. Or perhaps it always rolls past the hole more than you’d like. Let me assure you, you’re not alone.
Chipping often scares a lot of golfers. The weight of the expectation of hitting a good shot bears down heavily when you’re that close to the green. And when you pair that with the wrong techniques, it’ll often result in bad shots.
You should stop worrying, though, because I’m here to help you out with mastering chip shots. Read through to the end and find out what you’ve been doing wrong, and start hitting good chip shots effortlessly.
What’s a Chip Shot
Chips are shots where the ball is lofted in the air, then drops on the green, running toward the hole. You’d want to play a chip shot when you’re really close to the green.
When playing a chip shot, you want the ball to spend more time rolling on the ground than it does in the air.
A chip shot shouldn’t hit the ball too high off the ground. As a result, the ball will keep its momentum after it lands. A good chip shot will make the ball cover just the right amount of flight distance, landing and rolling toward the hole.
Here are my tips for you to take your chip shots to the next level.
Select the Right Club for Yourself
The right club will result in the right height of the ball’s flight. This will let the ball cover the right distance on the green to reach closer to the hole, or possibly even fall into it.
Different clubs yield different results when hitting a chip shot. No golf expert will be able to tell you what the best club to use might be when doing a chip shot.
The best club for a chipshot varies depending on the situation. The right club will change according to your distance from the green, the distance of the hole from the edge of the green, the techniques you use, and so on.
You need to know which club suits you in a particular situation. For that, you need to practice your chip shots a lot and do so with all the clubs available to you.
Don’t depend on one particular club. Get to know them all and become familiar with the different feelings they provide. Learn the differences in the outcomes of the chip shots with all of your clubs, so that when the moment comes, you’ll know which club will help you get the best shot.
Keep Your Shoulders and Hands Relaxed
Remember, you don’t need all that much power for a good chip shot. It’s all about a good swing that does the trick. So, stop gripping that club handle too tight.
Not relaxing your grip and shoulders will hinder you from keeping a good chipping stance. Also, too tight a grip will often result in mishits by not letting you control the pace and direction of the ball.
Find a good tempo for yourself and do a couple of swings in that tempo. Take a good backswing, then bring the club down in a controlled manner.
The downswing is really the key here. The goal is to accelerate it gently, not hammer it into the ball. You don’t need to help the ball up, a good downswing will do that for you.
Get Your Posture Right
If your form isn’t correct, you are surely not going to get the best results from your chip shots.
Most people tend to lean backward, trying to hit the ball underneath to help it fly up. This is a grave mistake, as the club hits the ground way before it connects with the ball.
You’d want to keep your weight on the leading foot after you’ve hit the ball to produce a good chip shot. When you lean back, the weight of the body falls on the hindfoot instead. This affects balance and, as a result, the accuracy of the shot.
Remember, keep your shoulders level, your chins high, and your back straight as an arrow. Keep the middle of your body a bit in front of the ball. This way, you’ll get a fluid motion in the swing of the club, giving you better control over the force of the hit.
Rotate your body, hips, and knees along with the club. This will let you take a longer backswing, and the club will contact the ball in a downward motion. Don’t worry too much about hitting the ground.
Get closer to the ball
A good chip shot requires good contact between the ball and the club. If the contact is off, the distance control and your accuracy will fall behind.
You need to chip with the toe-end of the club, not the heel or the sole. Standing closer to the ball will tilt the end of the club. This way, when you swing it, the toe of the club will hit the ball, lofting it effortlessly.
Also, it allows the club to travel much straighter, as opposed to when you stand away from the ball. If you stand far from the ball, the end of the club will travel in a defined arch, taking away your control over the direction the ball will fly.
It also allows the club to travel higher, allowing a smoother swing and better loft control.
Stop Flicking Your Wrists
If you have been flicking your wrists, thinking that it helped to lob the ball up in the air or just to make it look cooler, that’s where you’ve been going wrong.
Because flicking the wrists will only take away your directional control, the club will move independently, making the outcome of the shot much more uncertain. With such a technique, you would be totally inconsistent, and your shots would land all over the place.
What you should do is isolate your wrists. Swing the club in an arch that extends from the end of the club to the root of your shoulder. Let the leading arm lead the club through the downswing, and be careful not to push it with the hind arm.
This way, the swing will be much more fluid, making your shots more controlled and consistent.
Focus is essential not only for hitting good chip shots but for any shot you may need to play. If you can’t keep your mind in the game, you’re not going to get good at it.
While playing a shot, keep the target in sight and really focus on it. You don’t need to focus on the ball; just take quick glances at it before returning to the target again.
Focus on the technique you’ve practiced. You can take some dummy swings. Visualize how high the ball will travel and where it’s going to land.
Remember, improvements will come gradually, so keep practicing your shots and your focus.
Things You Should Remember
Don’t be a one-club-wonder
Every club in your bag is important, and none of them is better or worse than other clubs. The difference is in the different ways and momentum with which they make contact with the ball.
Also, if an expert tells you a particular club is better in a particular situation, this may or may not always apply to you.
So, use all your clubs, practice your swings with all of them, and notice the different feelings and results they provide. Take note of which club works best for you in which circumstances. Get used to them and create muscle memories.
The learning curves.
Like any other sport out there, improving at golf takes time and practice. You can’t just start using better techniques and expect to notice the outcome right away. It will take effect gradually, and you’ll see that there’s always room for improvement.
Always be on the lookout for flaws in your techniques and correct them. If you don’t know how to do that, don’t worry. I’ll be here with regular golf tips to help you get better.
Consistency is key
Don’t get too happy with good results in a particular aspect of the play and start ignoring it. Producing good results now and then is way less important than producing decent results consistently. So, again, keep at it.