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Instructional Tips

Golf Tip of the Month for April 2019

 PGA Professional Jerry Applegate

This time of year chipping can be very difficult due to the ground and turf conditions.  The turf is still not fully grown and many times you are playing with wet or muddy ground conditions.  There is no cushion to the turf.  It is tight and wet.  As a result, there is no margin for error.  If your chipping stroke is less than perfect it can result in a skulled shot.

Unfortunately, the wedges and chippers that you see advertised (over and over again!) on the Golf Channel are not the answer.  Actually the answer may be to use a different club.  If the situation allows you to use a putter, use it.  Even if the ball is way off the green you can use a putter.  The result will be better than a skulled chip or a chili dip.  You can also use a hybrid or fairway wood.  With these clubs you want to use a putting stroke.  This gets the ball slightly airborn, then it starts rolling like a putt.  Distance control is difficult with these clubs.  You will want to practice with these clubs to get your distance control down.

Another great thing to try is use a less lofted club than a wedge.  The 8 iron is a great choice.  By the way, some people will say they can chip great with a chipper.  Those clubs have an 8 iron loft, so just use your 8 iron.  Some of you may have an 8 hybrid instead of an 8 iron.  That’s OK just use the 8 hybrid.

From a technical standpoint we’ve talked in the past about how the key with chipping is to keep your hands in front of the club head as you make the stroke.  We don’t want our wrist to break down or “flip” before impact.  I’ve given a lot of chipping lessons over the years and that move is always the source of the problems.  The way this affects us this time of year is that if we make that flipping move even slightly it will result in the skull or chili dip simply because there is no margin for error in the turf.  To show yourself how much this matters, hit some chips off of the mats on the driving range tee.  The forgiveness of the mats won’t let you hit a bad chip.

Good luck with your chipping and keep in mind that it won’t be long before the turf is lush and has a lot of cushion.  The down side to that however is that you won’t have an excuse for your poor chips!

Jerry

Golf Tip of the Month - April

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