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Improving Your Approach and Chip Shots

One of the problems I often see players having with these shots is that their lead wrist (closest to the target) is cupping through impact and their weight shifting to their back foot, attempting to scoop or lift the ball into the air. This causes shots that are topped, skulled or the club head making contact with the ground prior to hitting ball. Inconsistencies in distance are another side-effect of this problem as the loft of the club face when striking the ball varies so much.

To address this issue, you must do what seems counter-intuitive. Your lead wrist (closest to the target) should remain flat through impact wit the ball and your weight needs to stay on your lead foot (closest to the target).This will keep the club head descending and traveling low through impact. A good drill to work on your short pitch and chip shots is to get into your setup for your pitch/chip shot and then, place as much of your weight as possible on your lead foot ( foot closest to the target)next,  position your other foot so only the tip of your shoe is touching the ground(for balance only).  Remain in this position and focus on keeping your lead wrist flat and your weight on your lead foot. Finish the stroke at least a foot to two feet past impact and check your position. If you are not in the proper position then make the adjustments and try again. Once you have mastered this drill, you can vary club selection and distance from the green to help in determining which club will perform better from different positions and then so from a conventional set-up. This drill can also be very helpful for all your full and sand shots!

Conventional set-up for a chip or pitch shot

  1. Your weight will be predominately on your lead foot, say 60% to 70%.
  2. Ball position should be center to 2′ to 3′ back of  center of your stance (towards your trail foot).
  3. Stance should be shoulder width.
  4. The stance should be slightly open to your target line. (lead foot is 2′ to 3′ farther from your target line than trail foot)
  5. The back swing will be longer than the fore swing. Keep a constant pace or slight acceleration  through impact.
  6. The club selection and length of the swing will determine the distance of the shot.

Good Luck

~Geoff Williams