Chipping is an often overlooked part of golf. If you walk around any golf course practice area, you are likely to see many golfers working on their swing and practicing their putting. Few, if any, will be dedicating practice time to chipping from around the green. The results show on the course - most amateur golfers are poor chippers and cost themselves several strokes per round simply with failed up and down attempts. If that sounds like you, use the following four tips to improve your chipping in your very next round.
Use Your Hands. Many golfers try to use only their shoulders to chip with a ‘putting-style' motion, and that is a bad approach. To get your golf club moving down through the grass into the ball cleanly, you need to use your hands. Try hinging your wrists slightly while taking the club back, and allow them to unhinge on the way through. This wrist action combined with a slight rock of the shoulders will give you a solid but delicate impact with the ball.
Hands Forward. When you set up to hit a standard chip shot, make sure to position your hands slightly ahead of the golf ball. This will encourage a downward hit at impact, which is ideal for getting the ball to pop up out of the grass and land softly. If you set your hands even with, or behind the ball you will be prone to hitting your chip shots thin and shooting them across the green.
Weight Leaning Left. Along with your hands set forward, you should be leaning to your left at address to further encourage a downward hit (for RH golfer). As a frame of reference, try to feel that 60% of your weight is on your left foot, while 40% remains on your right foot. There should be no weight movement during the shot, either - try to retain that distribution throughout the chipping motion.
Pick a Spot. One of the worst habits that amateur golfers get into is simply aiming for the hole and hitting their chip. Much like a putt, you need to carefully read the green before you shot in order to expect great results. Plan out exactly where the ball needs to land on the green in order to roll out and finish next to the cup. Obviously different clubs will allow for different amounts of roll-out, so practice chipping with several different clubs in order to give yourself options out on the course.
Chipping is actually the fastest way for most amateur golfers to improve their score. By just spending a few minutes each practice session working on the tips above, your scores can improve dramatically. If you miss 10 greens per round, that means you are chipping 10 times. If you go from getting up and down 20% of the time to 70% of the time, that saves you five shots per round. It would take you a long time of working on your swing to shave five shots off your score. Dedicate the time and effort to improving your chipping - you will be rewarded nicely for your commitment. Choose your chipping club weapon today!