Elevate Your Short Game: 10 Essential Tips for Improving Chipping in Golf
Are you struggling with your short game in golf? If so, chances are that the main thing you need to work on is improving your chip shots.
First things first: what is a chip shot? It's a low-trajectory shot where the ball ends up spending more time on the ground than in the air. Having a solid chip shot opens up the rest of your game, so it's important to get it going.
Want to learn how to chip a golf ball consistently? Here are ten effective tips that you'll be able to implement as soon as you get to the course!
1. Use a Straight-Back Swing
For chip shots where the goal is to hit the ball gently, you should usually use the straight-back swing. If done well, this swing will create a pendulum motion that leads to a more accurate shot and reduces dispersion.
Since this method will cost you some power, use a stronger club to make up for it. A 7-iron, 2-driving iron, and pitching wedge can all be good options. Don't forget to rotate your hips and shoulders while swinging as well!
2. Open the Clubface
With chip shots, it's important to increase the ball's glide through the turf. One way to do that is to open your clubface at address. This exposes the flange at the bottom of the club to the turf, preventing it from digging in.
This simple interaction has a few other benefits to your game. It enables you to create shaft lean without having to strengthen the loft. Clean contact and greater control will also help you cut down on thinned shots.
3. Work on Distance Control
When it comes to chipping for beginners, it's easy to neglect distance control. Greenside chips are important, but you'll often need to execute longer chip shots. Take some time to practice those as well.
Start with 10-20 greenside shots, then move back to 20, 30, and 40 yards. Get used to the force of your swings from each of these distances. Practice chipping from different positions, like under trees or behind bunkers.
4. Control Your Sternum
When setting up your chip shot, your sternum should be ahead of the ball. To reach this position, put slightly more weight on your front foot. This will allow you to take the club up on your backswing, creating a clean strike.
Shifting your weight forward also helps you get shoulder level at address. When a new golfer tries to do this, they tend to produce shaft lean without shifting weight to the lead leg. This will often lead to an injury.
5. Keep Your Feet Close
Feet positioning plays a key role in chipping. The further apart your feet are, the more they'll lock your upper body and force it to do more work. This impacts your ability to hit the ball at the lowest point of your swing.
To improve your freedom of movement, keep your feet closer together. For best results, the heels should be two to three inches apart. This will help loosen your body and allow for optimal shoulder and hip rotation.
6. Chip With Soft Hands
As far as essential golf chipping tips go, softening your hands is near the top of the list. Chipping with soft hands boosts your feel and feedback, allowing you to judge the power of your shots in a single motion.
How does softening your hands help you? Simple: it allows you to create a controlled swing without involving the arms too much. The light grip pressure makes you rely on the momentum of your body rotation instead.
7. Brush the Grass
The cleaner you can hit the ball, the easier it will be to control it. A big part of this is learning how to brush the grass cleanly. That way, the momentum of your strike will carry to the ball and keep it low to the ground.
To work on brushing, bring some sand to your next chipping practice. Place the sand on the turf, then focus on clipping it. See how many swings it takes you to disperse the sand; the more you get, the lighter your touch is.
8. Place the Ball Well
The first part of any chip shot is placing the ball. If you don't get this right, you're setting yourself up for failure. For instance, placing the ball behind your back foot will create a steep angle that makes the ball hard to hit.
The optimal ball position for chipping is between the inside of your back foot and the center of your stance. You should also stand closer to the impact zone. That way, you give your hips enough space to rotate.
9. Master the Tight Lies
With chip shots, every lie requires a different clubface angle. By learning how to navigate tight lies, you'll reduce your risk of overhitting. For example, hitting from the rough demands an open clubface and a weaker loft.
The one thing most tight lies have in common is that they provide limited glide. The solution is to place your toe down at impact. Doing so will help eliminate bounce, though there's a danger of catching the ball thin.
10. Consider the Slope
Another thing to consider when hitting chip shots is the slope of the green. Uphill and downhill shots involve different methods of adjusting your strike. To get the right speed and direction, you must compensate for the slope.
For example, let's say the green slopes from right to left. In this situation, you should account for the break by aiming to the right of the hole. Once the ball is pin-high, gravity will start carrying it to the target.
This Is How to Chip a Golf Ball Consistently
The bottom line: executing a chip shot well takes a lot of work. If these tips seem a bit overwhelming, work on them one at a time. Set aside one or two hours a week to practice, and your game will improve in a flash!
Want to learn more about how to chip a golf ball consistently? Our Eagle Harbor golf course is the perfect place to get some practice! Contact us here to book a tee time or get more information about the course.