On balance, this is better... INSTRUCTION BY:KEVIN SMELTZ
SENIOR INSTRUCTOR, DLGA
PHOTOGRAPHY: DAVID CANNON
Try this simple drill to improve your chipping technique: with your weight on your left
side, you can develop a repeating chipping stroke and enjoy a consistent ball-turf strike...
Having the ability to consistently control the bottom of the swing
arc is perhaps the biggest single key to developing your chipping
skills around the green. Good technique revolves around creating a
balance and body position at the set up that enables you to control
the movement with the upper body so that the arms swing freely
and return the clubhead on a consistent path.
The majority of faults in this arena of the short game stem from
a tendency to want to help (scoop) the ball up into the air (as illustrated
in the sequence below). As a result, there are a lot of golfers
out there who tend to reverse their weight onto the back foot as
they swing the clubhead through impact – a fault that automatically
causes the low point in the arc to fall behind the ball. So the shot is either hit fat, or the clubhead skids and catches the top of the ball,
causing it to be skulled across the green. Either way, the result ain’t
pretty and you waste an awful lot of shots around the green.
Draw right foot back and balance it on the toe of the right shoe. At the same time, flex your left leg as you gently lean your weight to the target. Weight remains on that left side throughout as you work on cultivating
a silky-smooth swing, the upper body controlling the swinging motion of the arms
Controlling the motion with
the shoulders/upper body, let
your arms swing freely to
create the chipping stroke.
Your weight remains on that
left side throughout
The beauty of this exercise is that as soon as you adjust your
set up position as I have above – i.e. you draw your right foot back
from the left and balance on the toe of the right shoe – your weight
distribution is automatically taken care of. Try it right now in front of
a mirror. As soon as you draw that right foot back and balance
your posture on the toe of the right shoe, you will feel the sensation
of your upper body leaning gently towards the target as you flex
the left leg to stabilise your position. The majority of your weight
will now be supported on the left side – where you want it to remain
as you go to work on your basic chipping technique.
Play the ball just back of your left heel, and let your hands find a
natural position, leaning the shaft gently to the target. There’s noting
to stop you hitting shots like this out on the course.
THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO AVOID:
This is what I mean by wanting to 'scoop' at
the ball and help it up into the air. The tendency
among many amateur players is to
lean back as the club is returned to impact – i.e. the player's weight is moving in the
opposite direction to the swing. As a result,
the bottom of the swing arc falls some way
before the ball, and in this instance the club
has literally bounced over the top of the
ball, imparting only a glancing blow,
skulling the shot.
By simply adjusting your stance – as per
the exercise above – you can clearly see the
way in which good posture putts you in a
good position to deliver a crisp downward
strike on the back of the ball. With the
upper body leaning gently towards the target,
weight on the left side, your hands and
arms automatically swing the club down to
bruise the turf after the ball.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine
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