Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chip - Don't Chili Dip

Standard "fundamental" setup pointers:

  1. Feet close together (use putting stance width)
  2. Ball off the back foot (further back = lower shot with more run on landing)
  3. Lean slightly to the left (don't over do it or the leading edge might dig)
  4. Grip down on the club (the further down, the shorter the shot)
  5. Use a weak or putting grip with left hand and weak grip with right (rotate the right hand over the top of the shaft); keep a flat left wrist back and through
  6. Address the ball with the club head grounded at first and with both arms straight and elbows close together; afterwards, slightly hover the club head
  7. Hands ahead of ball/shaft leaning forward; form a "lowercase Y" with the arms and club; the club shaft and left arm should form a straight line and it should remain that way
  8. Hover the club slightly above the ball (encourages downward strike) by lifting the upper body slightly
  9. Keep arms/hands firm (like in a putt)
  10. Simply rock the shoulders like a putt
  11. Allow the body to turn through after impact
  12. Pitch-like chip: release the club for more loft (normally keep left wrist flat) - tip from Hank Haney
  13. Pitch-like chip: open the club face more and then do everything else the same
  14. Pitch-like chip: slightly rotate the left forearm going back and square coming through
  15. Watch the ball disappear before looking up!

The number one cause of my chili dipped chips is my right elbow. It's absolutely crucial to address the ball with the elbow straight and to avoid bending it going back and through, as straightening right elbow usually causes contact behind the ball.

Raymond Floyd said to think of your chips as "putting with loft." This got me to thinking that I should just rock my shoulders with a forward leaning shaft and keep the lower body still until the turn through. This helped but I was still making silly chipping errors, especially when I committed my primary short game sin: Looking up before the ball disappeared to see where it was going.

Select clubs based on the situation. The goal is to get the ball rolling on the ground sooner. Chipping 30 yards from the green to a back pin position might require a 7 or 8-iron, while a close chip calls for a sand or lob wedge. Use the same chipping motion for all chips and adjust for distance using club selection. You may also open wedges as you would on a pitch shot to add loft to chips.

A weak or putting grip in the left hand with a flat left wrist really sets you up for success (it's easy to control direction if the back of the left hand leads). Hover the club slight above the ball to encourage hitting down through it and bottoming out in front. Keep the hands and wrists out of it--THEY SHOULDN'T MOVE (just like in putting).

But here's something that has really helped me, and it strongly relates to chipping with a putting motion. Forget using any wrist hinge whatsoever; as a matte of fact, you should keep the wrists and hands completely relaxed and loose. In other words, you should really feel the weight of the club head slightly waggling in your hands. Next, you'll notice that both FOREARMS form a small triangle; simply think of moving that small triangle back and forth, with no thought to the hands at all. Forget the larger triangle made by the full length of the arms and club. Makes it very easy to chip. The longer the stroke, the more the wrists will naturally hinge and unhinge from the weight of the club, creating very large chips or small pitch shots.


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