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Ballantrae at Birmingham Instructional Tips

Golf Tip of the Month for May 2017

From PGA Golf Professional Jerry Applegate

This month are going to talk about chipping.  Chipping is an extremely important part of the game.  Think about it, I bet you hit a chip shot on well over half the holes.  That’s a considerable number of shots each round.  I also know that chipping is problematic for a lot of folks because I give a lot of chipping lessons every year.

Having said that, let’s talk about the technique we use with chipping.  There are two schools of thought with chipping.  One is to use different clubs and stroke it like a putt.  The other is use mainly a lofted club (sand wedge or pitching wedge) and use the stroke I am going to describe.  Having grown up playing and teaching on Bermuda grass fairways and greens I use and teach the second method.  This is because Bermuda can be a grainy surface and we want more carry and less roll.

There are a couple of things we must do to chip successfully.  In the set up have a narrow open stance (aimed slightly left for right handers and slightly right for left handers), place the ball back in the stance (off the right toe for right handers), and place your hands forward (off the left thigh for right handers).

Now the most important part, the stroke.  This is the key to successful chipping.  You have created a relationship of the hands to the club head with your set up.  The hands are in front of the club head in relation to the target.  With the chipping stroke, keep the hands in front of the club head throughout.  All the way to the finish of the stroke!  This requires firm wrists and a slight turning of the body.  Hold your finish position at the end of the stroke to check to see if your hands are still in front of the clubhead.  There are a couple of ways to check on this. 

One is to grip an alignment stick with the grip of club so that it extends a foot or two beyond the end of the grip.  If you have the proper set up and stroke the alignment stick will be clear of your lead hip at address and will not hit your lead hip during the stroke.  If it hits your lead hip, you have lost the relationship of the hands to the club head.  Another way is to stick a tee (a white or colorful one works best) into the hole in the end of the grip.  Check to make sure the tee is pointing outside your lead hip at address and is still pointing outside the hip at the end of the stroke.

By executing the set up and stroke properly it will create solid, consistent chip shots and will greatly reduce skulls or chili dips.  So I hope this helps your chipping.  Plus, be sure to check the website for a link to the video lesson on chipping this month too.

Jerry Applegate



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