Why Most Golfers Hit Poor Chip Shots
One of golf’s most important shots is the chip shot. This shot saves a golfer many strokes over the course of the game if executed properly. The last thing a golfer wants to do is hit a poor chip shot and miss an up and down opportunity to save their score on a hole. When most golfers hit a poor chip shot they hit a “blade”, which is a shot that takes off across the green and often leaves them further away than where they began. In order to avoid the blade shot and hit a proper chip there are two areas that need to be addressed. They are ball position and body position.
Ball position: When a shot is bladed the club makes contact with the ball above the middle of the ball. Most times the club is striking the ball on the upswing, rather than the down swing. To correct this, we must move the ball back in the stance to at least the middle or even slightly towards the back foot. This will allow the club to make contact on the bottom of the ball and help the ball to jump into the air.
Body Position: Most golfers tend to get quite anxious over the ball and are in a hurry to see where the shot is going. In most cases when a bladed shot is hit, the golfer is looking for the ball too early and has not finished the swing. The old saying that you have “lifted your head” can be thought of, but what is happening is that when the golfer looks up too soon for the ball, the whole upper body rises and comes out of the chip shot, along with the position of the hands. This all causes the club to rise and strike the top half of the ball. To correct this error, make a practice swing or two as a rehearsal and ensure that you are hitting down into the grass. Focus on watching the ball disappear. Don’t worry, you won’t lose it as you are only trying to get the ball a short distance onto the green!
If you think about the golf swing, it is moving in a circular motion around your body. It is always traveling up or down. The position that the ball is in on the ground, or the “impact position”, is the lowest part of your swing. If at any time in the swing the ball position is incorrect, or if the body is moving up, down or side to side, the plane of that circle has changed and it will affect the timing and impact of the ball.
Remember that on a chip shot the ball does not always have to be lofted high into the air. If there is a lot of green between you and the flag, the ball is usually better off low and rolling. It may be more beneficial to use a 7 or an 8 iron to bump the ball onto the green and let it roll to the hole. A golfer must judge the lie and obstacles that need to be overcome. A bump and run style shot works best when you are able to hit the ball one-third in the air and let it roll two-thirds on the ground. A pitch shot will fly two-thirds in the air and roll about one-third on the ground.
By working on these areas and knowing what style of shot you need to hit, it will result in fewer bladed shots and more success in getting closer to the flag on your chip shots.
Devon Golf and CC
Devon, AB, Canada