What’s the most important shot in ALL of golf?
You may be surprised to learn that it does not possess the ability to bomb it long and straight off the tee.
It’s not being able to rescue yourself from trouble out of some pretty nasty rough, or even a really deep bunker.
And it isn’t that 10-foot par putt, either. It’s a shot that would seem to be routine and easy to do. But for many golfers, it isn’t.
Because the chipping swing is so short, set up with your hands and the club where you want them to be at impact.
Using a short iron or wedge, play the ball just behind centre, and open your stance so your lower body is pre-rotated toward the target.
Set more weight on your front foot, and lean the shaft forward so your left wrist is flat.
Swing the club back with your arms and shoulders, feeling the upper part of your arms riding on your chest as you make a little turn back. Remember, the clubhead stays below your hands.
Start the downswing with your lower body, your right knee pushing toward the target.
At impact, you want to return the club to that forward-leaning position, with the shaft in line with your left arm. Keep turning your body through, and check that your left wrist is still flat at the finish.
With one of your wedges, take an open stance and centre the ball between your heels. Avoid the common fault of tilting away from the target at address – golfers do this because they try to help the ball up. Instead, set your spine straight up and down, with the ball directly below the left side of your face.
Start the clubhead moving first, and then fold your right arm, which will cause your left wrist to cock and the club to swing upward.
This lengthens the swing to supply the extra speed you need on a pitch. Coming down, rotate your body through, feeling as if you maintain the cocking you created in your left wrist.
Your body rotation will pull your hands and the club down and through, with your hands beating the clubhead back to the ball. Like on a chip, the shaft will be leaning forward at impact. Finish with the clubhead low and pointing left of the target.
Here you need an even longer swing and an open clubface to hit the ball higher. Using your most-lofted wedge, widen your stance, open it more, and play the ball farther forward to increase the loft on the face.
As you go back, let your wrists fully cock, and turn your back to the target.
The common fault is that golfers don’t make a big enough motion, so they have to over accelerate on the downswing, leading to erratic contact.
From a good backswing, the key is to let your hands and arms drop.
To do this, you have to keep your grip pressure light, so you can feel the weight of the clubhead catch up with your left arm.
The follow-through is a continuation of that move:
The momentum of the swing re cocks your wrist, with the shaft getting to a vertical position, and your body rotates through to face the target.