You often choose to play a chip shot when your ball rests approximately 10 yards off the green with no obstacle (water body, bunker or long grass) in front of you. Short grass between your ball and the green gives you the option of chipping or even putting this shot; choose whichever is more comfortable. There are many ways to chip. With good technique and touch, the chances of holing a chip from off the green is higher than holing a putt. If you want to be a good chipper, you have to be positive, think that you can make at least one
chip-in a round and you surely will get there with practice through proper techniques. Here is what you can do to
optimise your chipping skills:
Step 1: Check your shot preparation. Read the green for distance and direction as you would read a putt. Determine the shot path into the hole (how much flight and roll). Imagine tossing a ball that rolls into
the hole. Identify the landing
spot for any slope that might
affect the direction of the first bounce. Determine the swing for your shot path. You may want to leave the flag in the hole if you are approaching a downhill chip-shot, otherwise the flags can be pulled out.
Step 2: Choose a club that matches your chosen shot path. Some golfers chip with one club (adjusting the swing and the clubface based on distance); others chip with different clubs (choosing a club based on distance). You determine this through practice.
Step 3: Check your physical setup. Stand closer to the ball and place your feet closer
together than you would for a full swing. Your weight should be evenly balanced on your feet and you must choke down on your grip (making the club shorter for better control). Your hands should be slightly ahead of the club head at setup and impact. Your ball position should be back in your stance (closer to the right foot for right handed golfer).
Step 4: Check your swing. A chip swing is both a shortened, slowed down pitch swing
and an enhanced putting stroke. Adjust the length of your back swing and follow through to the distance of the shot, keeping your club head below your waist. There is
minimal body, shoulder and wrist movement (or no wrist action). Swing as smoothly and gently as possible.
Step 5: The more you practice, faster you will develop a touch for chipping. Chipping is more of a feel than technique, so work towards getting a feel.
(The author is a golf instructor and golf director at Gokarna Forest Golf Resort & Spa, Kathmandu. He can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org)