Improve Your Short Game:
Practice Session 3 – Basic Chip Shots
So far in our short game series, we have practiced our wedge shots and short putts. This week we are going to practice one of the most important shots in golf, the basic chip shot.
The basic chip shot is designed to pop the golf ball into the air before golf ball returns to the ground and rolls to its destination. This shot is an essential for every golfer’s game.
The basic chip shot is a simple motion, as you should strive to hit this shot simply by rocking your shoulders as you make a slight turn with your upper body. Your hands will simply hold on to the golf club as your body does the work to hit the ball. The following setup tips will help you make a descending strike on the ball at impact:
- Grip down at the bottom of the grip
- Take your stance with your feet closer together than shoulder-width
- Lean your weight slightly towards your target
- Contact the golf ball with a descending blow by keeping your hands in front of the ball at impact
Practice Drill #1 – Towel Drill
My favorite drill for the basic chip shot is the Towel Drill. In this drill, you will place a towel over the spot you want the golf ball to land before it rolls towards the hole. Take five golf balls per target and try to land each shot on the towel.
One major question in this drill is, “How will I know where to place the towel?” The answer is that it depends. I want you to practice with three clubs – a sand wedge, a pitching wedge, and an eight iron. Assuming a flat surface and normal green speeds, the ball should fly:
- 50% in the air and 50% on the ground with a sand wedge
- 45% in the air and 55% on the ground with a pitching wedge
- 33% in the air and 67% on the ground with an eight iron
After the ball hits the ground it should roll like a putt would. Read the break from your landing spot and plan accordingly. For example, if the ball should roll to the right, plan to land the ball to the left of the hole so it rolls and finishes close to the hole.
Bonus Practice Drill – The Scrambling Game
The Scrambling Game combines this week’s chip shot and last week’s short putting to give you a fun game to play as you practice. If you want more practice after the Towel Drill, play the following game:
- Take nine golf balls and spread them around a practice green
- At each golf ball, select a hole to play a chip shot towards
- Go through your normal routine of selecting a club and playing the shot
- After the chip shot, take your putter and finish the hole
- Keep score – One chip and one putt counts as a par. One chip and two putts counts as a bogie. A chip-in counts for a birdie!