CHIP SHOT, Have A Ball Not A Strike!
By Greg Schulze
The most important shot in golf may be the chip shot. Why? Because most players (average scores over 80?) do not “hit the green in regulation (have a birdie putt) very often, missing the green short, long, left and right, and most often need to chip the ball onto the green first. Therefore, becoming the best chipper you can be will probably lower your scores faster than mastering any other shot, including the putt.
If you sometimes just “don’t get it” when you receive instructions to improve your chipping, maybe you need a non-golf analogy to help picture what’s being presented. A strong chipping image is to adopt the equivalent of baseballs “CHECK SWING”. Sure, you’ll still need to understand why the professional is asking you to address the ball back in your stance, leaning some of your weight towards the target and choking down on the club handle, but during the stroke and as you hold your finish, picture baseball’s check swing.
Imagine Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins at the plate. The first pitch is high and outside… BALL 1, the umpire yells; the second pitch seems good coming out of the pitcher’s hand, but at the last moment, Joe decides that it will be a ball and stops his swing in time… he has “checked” his swing. If he used a technique of swinging the end of the bat ahead of the handle, he could NEVER check his swing and it would be called a strike every time, but that’s not how the bat is designed to be used. The handle of the bat is leading the swing with the end of the bat following. This allows him to avoid having the end of the bat pass the handle before impact. Watch a professional golf tournament on television and look at the top players when chipping. Watch them hold their follow-through, and see if you notice the check swing.
Do you create a “check swing” when you chip or do you allow the clubhead to pass the handle of the club? Do you HOLD your finish to look to see if you made a check swing, or did the umpire call a strike?
Do you like practicing or do you find it boring sometimes? Maybe it seems boring because you are not using your imagination enough. Maybe you should pretend that you’re Joe Mauer and make that check swing, I think you will like the umpire’s call and your results!