Chipping is probably one of my favorite things to do. Not sure why, but I think it's the challenge of getting it close from unusual circumstances. It certainly makes things interesting.
However, chipping comes with its own set of challenges. There are so many ways to describe chipping errors: stubs, sculls, chili dip, dubs, etc., etc. I'm always looking to improve my swing, chipping and putting, so don't be surprised when I tell you I've found something new after 24 years.
In fact, in Jack Nicklaus's book that I've spoke about before, he mentions after 30 years of playing the game he was still learning and didn't see any end in sight. Wow, that's quite a statement coming from one of the greatest golfers ever. It puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
As you know, when chipping, it can be difficult to catch the ball properly especially when you have a hard pan lie or just a tight lie. Even flyer lies can cause some issues.
The point is, having a chipping stroke that can work under most conditions is a great tool to have. When I chip, I never use my wrists, I think it's too unpredictable, but if you're good at it, I wouldn't want to talk you out of it.
When I setup to a chip shot I use a narrow stance. My ball position is slightly forward from the center of my stance. Once I'm set up, I simply swing the club back as I always do with my shoulders, arms, and hands firm, but not tight. When I get back as far as I'm going to go, depending on how far I want the chip to go, I simply rotate my lower body starting with my left foot, leg and hip, in a counter-clockwise motion (If you're a righty), with my right side following behind. With my whole upper body firm, it automatically follows behind my lower body.
At impact, both knees have rotated and turned towards the target along with my hips. My whole upper body just rotates through the ball, while my head stays down on the shot. Keep in mind this lower body movement is quiet not exaggerated. This rotation not only allows the lower body to lead the downswing with the upper body following, It also ensures that I hit down on the shot. It's like the golf swing - one continuous motion.
Being such, it guards against doing stupid things during the stroke like trying to help the ball into the air, scooping it, forcing your hands to stay in front, etc. If your struggling with chipping give this a try, it may work for you.
Mulligan's Corner: The Club at Pelican Bay has an interesting twist. Play on Fridays (North Course) and get a chance to play for free or for half price. They call it Black Friday. Play one hand of Black Jack and beat the house, you get a round of golf at half price. If you get Black Jack you play for free. Also, on the South Course on Mondays and Wednesdays donate a minimum of $15 or more, get a round of golf and Pelican Bay will donate anything over $10 to the Atlantic High School. Call Pelican Bay for details, North Course (386) 756-0040 and the South Course (386) 788-4653.
Sal Martignetti is an independent golf instructor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (603) 986-3376. His free e-book is available at elusivegolfswing.weebly.com.