Conquering the Chip Shot
In the average round of golf roughly 70% of shots are made from 120 yards or less from
the pin, making your chip shot key to taking extra strokes off your score.
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In the average round of golf roughly 70% of shots are made from 120 yards or less from the pin. That means, your chip shot is key to taking those extra strokes off. A chip shot is a low-trajectory flight that rolls further than it flies.
A pitch, in contrast to a chip shot, flies higher, carries farther, and rolls less.
Start with the right club. Save the wedge for pitching and use an 8 iron as a middle and work up or down the numbers depending on the distance. This little chart will give you a rough guideline:
9 Iron - For every foot in the air the ball will roll about 2 feet.
8 Iron - For every foot in the air, rolls approximately 3 feet.
7 Iron - For every foot in the air, ball rolls about 4 feet, etc
In golf, your stance is always going to be one of the most important issues for success.
A good stance begins with your feet are close together for shorter shots, slightly wider for longer chip shots. While each person is different and has to find their best foot positioning, about one foot apart for medium shots.
Your should open your stance to about 30 degrees, with the club face directed at the target.
Once you have your feet where you want them, shift your weight slightly, roughly 60% of it, onto your lead foot. (Left foot for right-handed golfers, right foot for left-handers.)
Position your hands ahead of the club head so they can lead the head through the shot. Most bad chip shots happen when the club head gets ahead of your hands.
Ball position should be slightly back of center, off the trailing foot toe.
Once you've got the stance you want, prepare to start the swing.
After going through this material on the chip shot, by the way, you might want to take a look at the page on swing drills.
Take the club back with the shoulders, no wrist break, with your hands leading the clubhead on the downswing.
To check this: Grip your club far down the shaft and hit some practice chips. If the handle strikes you, you're breaking your wrists. The handle will stay well away from you if your wrist action is right on the chip shot.
You'll probably notice a tendency to point your shoulders left, because of the open stance, but keep a check on it. Your shoulders should line up parallel to the target line, but be aware of your lower body, as well. When the lower body is rigid, you're overdoing it.
The basic stroke for the chip shot is the familiar pendulum swing using just the shoulders and arms.
Since you're not driving the ball long distances, your backswing should be relatively shorter.
Here's a Guide for a Good Chip Shot Swing
If an average golfer swings back to the waist, and then accelerates the clubhead down, the ball will travel in excess of 25 yards. Adjust the amount of YOUR backswing for the distance.
Chip Shot Errors
The two most common errors in chipping are chunkers that fall too far short and skulls that fly past the green.
Chunkers are the result of hitting up. Be careful not to get too far under the ball or you will hit the ground. Don't scoop it. But don't go too far in the other direction and hit the top of the ball with a rising or leading edge. That causes a low shot that overshoots the pin.
Just slide the head barely under the ball in a smooth pendulum motion, keeping your wrists still.
Experiment with different clubs to find out what works best for your personal height and strength for a given distance. Pretty soon, you'll be in the chips!
Golf Clubs and Accessories
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