A brief absence of the game can leave you stonewalled silly around the greens. The saying “the short game goes first” when golf is de-prioritized in life is true. However, fortunately, we have 09′ Walker Cup Player and UGA golf standout, Adam Mitchell (@adamkmitch) to get us back to the chipping basics. Adam has already shown us the correct putting grips. Afterwards, let’s hope you’ll want to grab a wedge and explore how to chip like a champ because you’ll leave here ready to strategically and thoughtfully work on your chipping technique while saving you many strokes and headaches along the way.
The Correct Ball Position When Chipping:
Adam likes to play the ball off the inside of his front foot. Observe below and see how the blue line goes through the range ball and is inline with his front left foot as well. Good ball position leads to consistent contact and predicable results.
How to Chip | The Width of Your Stance
The width of your stance should be no wider than the width of your shoulders. The chipping stroke is one of finesse and timing requiring a stance no wider than below. Observe how comfortable Adam sets up to ball.
The full swing, normally, requires weight evenly distributed across both feet at 50%-50%. To chip the ball consistently, you’ll want to emphasize at least 60% of your weight on the front foot. This helps ensure consistent contact. Observe below how Adam has distributed his weight.
Hand Position at Address When Chipping
The simple answer: pressed forward slightly. To get more specific, off the insight of your front thigh. For maximum consistency and contact, your hands will always be leading the club and setting up with a slight forward press assures greater consistency.
How to Chip | The Backswing
This is where many golfers start to get overwhelmed with the chipping game. We’ll keep it very simple on what to do and then provide common flaws many amateurs resort to.
The chipping stroke is simply started with the simultaneous turn of the shoulders and the hinging of the hands. Below, you’ll find Adam in the perfect position: with the right amount of hinging in the hand in relation to his shoulder turn. You’ll find, this is where practicing your chipping will be the most advantageous. When practicing, explore distances and heights the ball travels based off club selection and length of the chipping stroke.
Players make two big mistakes when chipping. First, they either hinge their wrist too much (left) or they don’t hinge them enough (right). If there is too much wrist hinge, the player loses consistency by letting the smaller muscles (wrists and hands) dictate the shot. For greatest consistency, a good blend of the big muscles (shoulders and arms) are required. If there isn’t enough wrist hinge (right), a player loses feel and touch required for the delicate chip shot. Again, the perfect combination of shoulder turn and wrist hinge is necessary and worth practicing.
Impact Position When Chipping
The optimal position at impact is very similar to they way you setup. The hands should be in front of the ball — if not a touch more infront than when you setup. Observe below how Adam’s hands are just a few inches forward than they were at address. This is ideal.
Again, the two most common mistakes players make is when they are either too “handsy” (wrist hinge) and release the club early (left) or they are not handsy enough and don’t release the club (right). Both of these mistakes can be observed below.
How to Chip: The Follow Through
The perfect follow through is a product of a timely and well-executed backswing and strike of the ball. Examining your follow through can lead to clues of your performance…of course your shot will too. However, to be consistent and perform in the height of competition or, let’s say, the moment when the money’s on the line, steady and repetitive chipping techniques will lead to great results. Below is the optimal position for your follow through when chipping.
Lastly, players who may have inconsistency in their chipping will find their follow through looking one or two ways. Below (left) the player has again been too “handsy” with his follow-through and on the right, not been “handsy” enough.
Conclusion on How to Chip
It’s no wonder one of the hardest parts of the game can yield to significantly lower scores with time, energy, and focus. It’s arguable there is no other aspect of the game that can produce greater benefits to your game when taking into account the time necessary to improve. Above, we’ve reviewed the basics of chipping and the techniques needed to create repeatable and satisfactory results. Continue to practice all type of chips with different clubs: each one requires a unique combination of wrist hinge, shoulder turn, and overall touch. Good luck and keep us updated in the comments.