Tuition

On balance this is better - simple chipping drill

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.

On balance this is better - simple chipping drill

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.

On balance this is better - simple chipping drill

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:

On balance this is better - simple chipping drill

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.