One of the quickest and easiest ways to lower you scores and handicap is to become a better chipper. Becoming proficient from off the green will not only lower your scores, it translates into better iron play. When a player has the confidence that he can get the ball “up and down” from off the green, their iron play becomes better because they aren’t afraid to miss the green.
There are several keys to better chipping.
Let the shot dictate the club selection.
We have more control of the golf ball when it is on the ground, not in the air. When chipping the golf ball we want to get the golf ball on the ground and rolling as soon as possible. As such, the amount of green we have to work with should determine the club we select. The more green we have between us and the hole, the lower lofted club we should use. The less green there is between the ball and the hole, the more lofted the club we should use. We can chip with anything from a 6 iron through sand wedge. As a general rule of thumb, the ball should be in the air one third of the time and on the ground two thirds of the time.
Most of the errors that are made in hitting a chip shot are as a result of a poor set-up. First, grip down slightly on the handle of the club. Second, narrow your stance so that the outside of your feet are no wider that the outside of your shoulders. Third, place about 85% of your weight on your foot closest to the target and move the ball position to the back third of your stance. Finally, make sure the club face is aligned square to the target line.
The biggest mistake most people make when chipping is to not use their wrist. In an efficient chipping stroke the wrist hinge slightly as the arms lift in the back swing. This allows the player to gain leverage in the down swing.
Use a short, brisk, accelerated stroke through the ball, making sure the club is taken away at the same angle as it is at address. In the back swing the wrist hinge slightly and in the down swing the hinge is maintained, not letting the club head pass the hands prior to impact. In the follow through, the lead arm and the shaft of the club should be in a straight line.
The goal is to the hit the ball close enough to the hole to make the next putt. Follow these procedures and your scores will start to fall.