Short Game: Chip Shots
The most important shots in golf may be the chip shot.
Why? Because most players miss the green short, long, left and right. And most of us often need a chip shot before a putt.
Therefore, becoming the best chipper you can be will probably lower your scores faster than mastering any other shot, including the putt.
If you sometimes just “don’t get it” when you receive instructions to improve your chipping, maybe you need a non-golf analogy to help picture what’s being presented. A strong chipping image is to adopt the equivalent of baseballs “check swing” as your chipping technique.
Sure, you’ll still need to understand why the professional is asking you to address the ball back in your stance, leaning some of your weight towards the target and choking down on the club handle. But during the stroke and as you hold your finish, picture baseball’s check swing.
Imagine First Baseman Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins at the plate. The first pitch is high and outside. “Ball one,” the umpire yells. The second pitch looks good coming out of the pitcher’s hand, but at the last moment, Mauer decides that it’s drifting outside of the strike zone and tries to stop his swing in time.
He tries to “check” his swing.
If Mauer used the technique of swinging the end of the bat ahead of the handle, he could never check his swing (And it would be one ugly swing, to boot.) It also would be called a strike every time, but that’s not how the bat is designed to be used anyway, as any red-blooded American baseball fan knows.
The handle of the bat is leading the swing with the end of the bat following. This allows him to avoid having the end of the bat pass the handle before he wants it to.
Now watch a professional golf tournament on television, and look at the top players when chipping. Watch them hold their follow-through, and see if you notice the check swing.
Do you create a check swing when you chip or are you swinging the clubhead only? Does your clubhead pass the handle of the club in your chips?
Do you hold onto your finish to look and see if you made a check swing, or did the umpire call a strike? It’s not a bad analogy.
Do you like practicing, or do you find it boring sometimes? Maybe it seems boring because you are not using your imagination enough. Maybe you should pretend that you’re Joe Mauer (although maybe not so far in the 2014 season) and make that check swing.
I think you will like the umpire’s ball call — and your golf results!