While Golf is a sport that is easy for anybody to pick up, it is a sport that takes more time to master than many others. It takes precision, timing, and sometimes a bit of luck to come out on top of the pack in competitive golf games.
Of the many nuances to perfect in Golf, one of the most crucial is the art of the Chip Shot. A chip shot is used when approaching the green when you want to get as close to the hole as possible without overshooting your target. This type of shot can make or break a golf game, especially when the score is close, so it is important to know what it takes to perfect your chip shot.
Tips for Your Chip Shot
Identify the Target
Before taking your swing you will want to take note of where on the green you wish for your ball to land. While aiming for the pin does seem like your usual target, you may want to try aiming for any slopes going towards the hole, depending on the lay of the green.
Choose Your Club
For a chip-shot, your usual club of choice should be a high-angle wedge, such as a pitching or approach wedge.
The way you hold your hands on the club and the position of your shoulders can have an effect on the outcome of your swing. For your hands, you will want to keep your wrist loose while maintaining a firm grip, with your hands facing forward of the club head. This will allow your swing to come off more fluid while still maintaining control of the club.
Your shoulders should be held tight to help limit their motion during the swing. This will help you to maintain the trajectory of your shot through to impact with the ball.
Keep Your Footing
You will want to keep your feet, and effectively the lower half of your body, firmly planted and motionless, letting your upper body and shoulders do the work during your shot. At the same time, when you take your swing, try to keep the majority of your weight on your front foot. This helps to keep the motion of your swing more relaxed, helping with accuracy.
Visualize Your Shot
While this method does not work for everyone, sometimes even having the opposite effect, many professional golfers claim that visualizing where you want your ball to go in your head can help you maintain focus when taking your swing.
The Perfect Backswing
For a chip shot, nearly everything boils down to your backswing. If the angle of your backswing is too high or low, you can risk over or undershooting your target.
For the best results, try to have your backswing come from an angle of about 45 to 90 degrees from the ground. This angle of the backswing is perfect for most chip shots, giving you the correct amount of power depending on the situation.
Also when taking your swing, try to keep your forward-facing arm straight and parallel with the club shaft. This will ensure that you are able to maintain the angle and power of your shot through to impact.
Hitting the Ball
When you finally follow through with your shot and make impact with the ball, try to do so while hitting the ball at a low point and with the right amount of speed. This gives your ball the speed and trajectory it needs to reach its target. Conversely, if you hit the golf ball too slow or too high, you risk the ball either not reaching its destination or being drastically undershot.
In addition, try not to "scoop" your golf ball. This is essentially when your club picks up the ball from underneath and "throws" it rather than striking it. You're playing golf, not lacrosse, and a scoop shot is likely to not reach its target and can easily go haywire.
Practice Makes Perfect
Obviously, all the tips in the world mean nothing compared to actual practice. When at home, try taking the above tips and using them to practice your chip shot using a pre-designated target that you set up for yourself. This allows you to take multiple shots in a row from the comfort of your back yard, without the added pressure of other golfers trying to rush you along.
If you wish to practice on the course itself, I'd suggest doing so while playing a solo round of golf. So long as you are not delaying anybody else's game, you can practice your chip shots on the actual course and without the added pressure of competition.
For myself, the chip shot was one of the more difficult aspects of my golf game to get down perfectly, with many a shot going over the green or worse. Considering how many games I lost as a result, it didn't take me long to discover just how important a good chip shot can be.
These tips and tricks above can help to keep you from a fate similar to mine, helping to give you the tools you need to get your chip shot down. Now it is time to apply this advice to your golf game and start your journey to a better chip shot, so get out there and practice!