Are You A Scooper/Flipper On Short Pitch Shots?

By John Green

Have you ever been next to the green and proceeded to skull/top your next shot over the green? You are probably a scooper/flipper.

Here’s what that looks like right after impact. The clubhead has passed the hands, which will cause contact that is high on the ball and results in a low flight or roll as shown here. I’ve always felt this comes from the golfer trying to get the club under the ball to lift it in the air; hence the word “scooping”. To get the club under the ball, the right hand has to push and slide the club under the ball; otherwise known as “flipping”. That is why it can be referred as either. (Personally, I’m waiting for someone to call this shot a “flooper”)

The best way to fix this is to try to keep your right wrist bent on the downswing and through impact. (Keeping the wrist bent is the opposite of a flipping motion as seen in the previous picture.) When the wrist stays bent in a short pitching stroke, the hands will always stay ahead of the clubhead as it approaches the ball. The only direction the clubhead will travel at this point is down at the ball (rather than under the ball in a scooping motion). In doing this for the first time, your finish will feel short and abbreviated, but that’s ok. As I always tell my students if they are doing a new and correct motion it has to feel strange, weird, or uncomfortable.

If keeping a bent right wrist doesn’t work for you, there is a “last resort”. Go left hand low (right hand low for you lefties). This is a surprisingly easy method for short pitches and chips where the club doesn’t go past the knees on the backswing. And it does the same thing as keeping your right wrist bent; the hands always stay ahead of the clubhead.

For more help with these short pitches, see your favorite PGA or LPGA Professional.

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