Wrists Let Chips Fall Where They Should
proper chipping technique for the average player
is a coordinated movement of the shoulders, arms
and hands that ensures that the butt of the club
moves in the same direction as the face of the club
until after the golf ball is hit.
The most common error in chipping is allowing the
target wrist to break down before impact, creating
a situation where the butt of the club is moving
in the opposite direction of the clubface. This
causes the clubhead to reach the bottom of the arc
too soon before impact and results in either hitting
behind the ball or topped chips that roll much too
Image words create pictures on your mental screen,
and since images cue motor responses, your golf
vocabulary should have the appropriate image words
to help you execute. The image word for the chip
is "staccato," which describes the firm,
Most good chippers hold the club more firmly than
in their regular swing, since they do not want their
wrists to hinge very much during the stroke. Think
of your hands as clamps not for squeezing the club
but for anchoring it so your hands don't flop around.
As you can see in the photo at left above, start
by positioning the ball behind your trail foot with
about 90 percent of your weight on your target foot.
Your clubface should sit square to the target with
the leading edge on the ground and your hands well
ahead of the ball.
The execution is a one-piece back-and-through stroke
using only your arms and shoulders with a bit of
chest turn for fluidity. There is no weight transfer.
Most important, your wrists should remain firm so
that your hands do not hinge or unhinge until after
the ball is gone.
Choose the lowest-lofted iron that will
carry onto the green about a yard or so and then
roll the rest of the way like a putt. Before you
actually hit the shot, take several practice swings
and actually clip the grass. This will help you
measure your distance to the ball.
While not the only way to chip, I think the "no
wrists" method is the most forgiving because
it has fewer moving parts --it's simply straight
back and through to the target.
triangle formed by my hands, arms and shoulders
at address (photo above) will simply tilt down a
bit on the backswing and then up during the downswing.
Note that my target shoulder is higher during my
follow-through (photo below) due to this seesaw