Now that Spring has sprung, we are ready to get out and play some golf!! In the spirit of Spring cleaning, let’s discuss the proper chip shot. As we come out of our winter nap, we usually aren’t as sharp with our short game as we will be mid-Summer. So, what are the best methods for us to keep it simple and avoid the double-bogey number? Which technique is the best when faced with less than perfect conditions, or over trouble? Let’s tee it up!

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Feel Good Friday, with the potential of some spring golf tomorrow, I thought we could jump into how to chip like a champ. Let’s tee it up.

Everyone, welcome to another episode of Data Axis Golf. On this Feel Good Friday, the second round of the Valspar Championship is in the books. Look Donald still hanging in there, which is always kind of fun. So I wanted to jump in, we’ve got the weekend, coming up tomorrow and so the potential of somewhere golf. And so wanted to get into some chipping. Sometimes when we get into the spring golf, the conditions on the golf course aren’t always the best. So there are some challenging shots out there. And so I wanted to kind of talk about chipping and how to keep it super simple, especially as we’re coming out of winter. And we may not have all of our touches back yet. We want to keep chipping as simple as we possibly can.

So, with that, there is a lot of different ways to chip. Some of the biggest problems I see with us, amateurs, is we try to do too much. We try to be too fancy. We try to be to tour pro-ish, in our chipping where chipping is really to keep it simple. And again, here at Data Axis Golf, we’re all about simplifying everything golf, to make it as easy as possible for us to perform as well as possible. And that really is done through simplicity. And through feedback, and through data, and all this kind of stuff, right? We want to use everything, every possible tool to get a very consistent and simple golf swing. So the fact that we don’t get to practice as much as we want to, does it affect this as much as it could, right? And that’s by simplification.

Basic Rule in Golf Chipping

So the very basic rule in a chip shot is you want it on the green pretty quickly. The basic rule is, and I’m talking this rule has gone back from when I don’t know how old I was when my grandfather told me this a long time ago, the basic rule is you want it to land a third of the way there and roll out two thirds to the cup. Okay, so you want to choose the club, and then he would have us choose different clubs based on how far away the pin was. And so we got very good at using, you know, a five iron all the down to a pitcher well down to a nine iron. A pitching wedge, he always told us was a proper pitching wedge would be would fly halfway there and roll out halfway. Now that’s on a flat green, if you’re going downhill, it’s going to be different than it would be the 1/3, 2/3. And if it was a pill, it may be to third month right with the pitching wedge. But that’s kind of how he had us think it out. Now that has proved to be very, very helpful over my whole life. As far as chipping goes, is trying to get the ball on the green one-third of the way there and two-thirds rolling out to the pin. Now, why is this really helpful? First and probably foremost, the smaller the motion we make, the greater the chance that will find the center of the clubface. Okay, that’s just, that’s the basics. So it’s going to be a lot easier to you’re going to have to move a five iron a lot less, you’re going to have to move a pitching wedge to hit at the same distance. Okay, so a lot of people worry about changing clubs. But let me help you kind of think that one through a little bit. If you lay a club down on the ground, you can see the pitch of that club and get an idea of how high it’s going to hit the ball into the year. I know a lot of people don’t think this way. But this is a super easy way to be able to use the different clubs in your bag, without feeling like you need to practice them a million hours to get it right. If you just take a club out and you set it on the ground and picture that ball coming off the pitch of that face, and how high it’s going to go, you can start to gauge which club to use, at least to start. And if you want to go to the putting green and work on this, it’s obviously great, always good to practice. But that’s how I still do it. If I look at between where I’m pitching and where the hole is, I will putt if I’m not sure if it’s a five or six or seven, I’ll pull one out and could look laying on the ground and just kind of look to seek.

Golf Chipping Practice Drill

Now you couple that with the following. If you picture yourself taking a golf ball, in whichever dominant hand you are left or right, and throwing the ball a third of the way there, right? And having it roll out the remaining two thirds. Okay, so I think about it pretty down low like I’m crouching right, I think it’s like the knee drop right down that low, do a little just picture yourself throwing the ball underhand and what type of locked it’s going to need to land and then roll out, then match that to whichever club you need, right? So I mean, if it’s, if it’s really close, I’m not really going to have to do a whole lot to get it there. And then the velocity is different as well. So it’s pretty close, I’m probably going to use like a nine iron. But if it’s the pins quite a ways away, then I’m going to have to throw it a little more level and have it roll out. And that’s going to be closer to a six, you know, five iron somewhere in there. So think that through, if you can visualize the shot, if you can visualize what the ball needs to do to end up somewhere near the pin, you’re always going to be in a much better place. I think that we as amateurs do not take the time to visualize and it doesn’t take a lot of time. But if you can visualize what the ball needs to do to get to where it needs to go, then it’s very easy to pick the right club to make sure that you hit a good pitch shot and just think, the small of emotion, the better off you are.

Golf Chipping Tips

And then a couple of pointers, one, I remember a pointer from Nick Price on chipping, it’s got to be gosh, I don’t know 20 years ago, or something. But this has proved to be so valuable. So valuable. He was talking about how you always want to be accelerating into the ball. So you want to take it back slower than you’re going to come through. I think that’s pretty standard, right. But this is the part that made it really cool and super interesting to me, the shorter you want to hit the ball, right, the shorter the chip shot, the slower you take the club back, right? because you’re not going to need to come down into the ball as quickly you want to accelerate that you don’t want to accelerate as much. So the way to control that takes the club head back slower, that has proven to be so helpful over the years. So the shorter the chip shot, the slower the backswing on the chip shot, and then accelerate into the ball. Again, probably have to work with that a little bit on the putting green, but that is gold. That is a piece of gold from Nick Price. I’ve never heard anybody else say it. But I remember that from Nick Price. Really great, really good, great technique there.

So that’s the basic chip shot, there is, especially in this time of year, there’s going to be times when you’ve got some soft ground or maybe some you know mowed grass or some you know, dirt or some sand or something in between you and the ball and you still want and maybe it’s you’re going to have to land it in, you know, we’re talking to 132 thirds. So sometimes we’re going to maybe have to land it short of the green and run it up through some stuff will the coolest way to do that is a kind of a shot my grandpa showed me. And he would hit these chip shots that had to go through something soft or some garbage and stuff with a hooded club face just a little hooded. And then he would take the club back on the inside and keep it on that same target line. So we’d come from the inside with a hooded clubface, and it would put some kind of hook spin. He called it overspin but it’s not really overspin, right, some hook spin, but it would create the ball to really kind of cruise through the garbage. And so he could always kind of get it to where it needed to go. So if you’ve got to chip through some stuff, and some soft stuff, and you’re just not sure, and you’re worried that the balls going to get caught up in something, put the club a little bit, and it will give it the ball some little ump to get it through whatever it needs to get through to get to the pin.

Okay, final thing, The problem I see is a lot of guys go to a lob shot, when they just don’t need to a lot of guys try to hit it, you know, three-quarters of the way there when they don’t need to. And even if you just took 10 balls, and did five, one third and just toss them right? Toss them one-third of the way there and let them roll two thirds out, and then tried to throw five of them two thirds or three-quarters of the way there and see how many finish. It is so much easier to see how many finished and which ones finished closer. It is so much easier to use less motion and throw up one-third of the way there and let it roll out and get it close than it is to throw it clear up in the air and habit try to stop. You know, sending it three-quarters of the way there and having to try to stop somewhere around the whole. That’s just the way it is. It’s far less motion, the ball has to be in the air last you get it on the ground rolling more.

Another huge benefit of watching the ball roll for two-thirds is you get to see the break of what’s around the hole. And and a lot of people don’t think about that, you get to see the break, which is hugely important. If it’s a comeback, or even if it’s moving towards the hole, watch how the ball is moving towards the hole. You get a little read, you get a little help from yourself. When you pitch it this way, when you chip it this way instead of throwing it all the way to the throwing it all the way to the hole.

And then the last thing so a lot of us get little fancy we try to hit lob shots. There are times when we have to hit lob shots. And the one I just want to talk about is when you have a sand trap or some trouble between you and the pin, the biggest mistake amateurs make we make is we try to get cute with it. And we try to land it somewhere between the edge of the throttle and the pin, which is a disaster. I mean, especially this early in the year, when we haven’t had time to really go out and work on our short game. Maybe you know once we’ve had some time to play a few rounds and get into it, maybe so. But we want to if we’re going to have to go up over trouble. We want our next shot to be a putt, no matter what. We’ve got a better chance of making a pot than chipping again at the sand trap or leaving it short in the rough or whatever it is, right? So make sure we get it on the green.

So the coolest way to do this is tried to throw it at this particular point, try to throw it all the way to the pin. Okay, try to throw it all the way to the pin. If you are def it or whatever and you hit it short, a little fat, you’re still going to be okay. If you hit it well. It’s going to land by the pin. And then it’s going to roll out and you will have the opportunity to see what that putt does to see how it breaks and then be able to make try to make the comebacker and it might be a 5, 10 20 footer, but you will see how the ball moves and you will have a good shot at making that putt and you’ve taken double bogey out of play. The worst you get out of there with them with a 20 footer is a bogey. But the chances are if you have a five or 10 footer, you could make that for parr. And that is just if you want to break at heck if you want to break 90 if you want to break 100 or 90 or 80 or whatever it is you’ve got to start taking double bogeys out of play. And that’s one strategy to do is make sure when you have a difficult lob shot over some trouble, take it all the way to the pin and watch how the ball rolls out after it lands. If you don’t watch how the ball rolls out after it lands, then you’re giving up on a really important piece of information that can save you a stroke. Watch the ball land and watch how it rolls out and then go up there and knock in the comebacker with your putter.

We’ve got spring golf hopefully that’s the basic chip also talked a little bit about the hook chip, which is a totally fun shot. And also talked a little bit about some strategy with the lob shot. When there’s trouble in between:

  • Take it all the way to the pin
  • Watch the slope of the green
  • See how the brakes and make the comebacker

So hopefully that’s helpful. Enjoy if you’re playing tomorrow, playing Sunday, enjoy it. Enjoy the weekend of golf. Enjoy the Valspar Championship. It’s fun to see Paul Casey up at the top defending champion back in it and Donald and should be a good we can DJ is in the mix. So should be a fun weekend.

All right, that’s the wrap on this show. Remember better data always means better golf. Thanks.