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Chip Shots: Start Holing Your Share
by Barry Goldstein

Read About Barry

When a Tour pro faces a relatively straightforward chip shot from just off the green, he'll generally ask his caddie to remove the flag. Why? Because the pro is trying to hole the shot. He's not thinking about getting up and down. He's focused on the down part.

There's no reason that you shouldn't start thinking about holing your share of chip shots, too.

Many of my students have mastered the relatively simple technique that ensures consistently crisp contact on chip shots: they place their weight on their forward foot and leave it there throughout the swing. They position the ball back in their stance and grip down on the club-almost to the shaft-for control. They take a relatively short backswing and hit aggressively through the ball, maintaining their chipping until well after impact. And yet many aren't able to take their chipping game to the next level. What's holding them back? Their stroke.

The chipping motion should be straight-back, straight-through, just like a putting stroke. Too many amateurs make a full swing in miniature in that they take the club back to the inside and then bring it to the ball on an inside-to-square path, then allowing the clubhead to cross back to the inside after impact. This type of motion simply doesn't give you the accuracy and precision you need when chipping.

To develop a straight-back, straight-through chipping motion, lay two clubs down on the ground parallel to one another just off the practice green, pointed at a hole about 15 or 20 feet away. The clubs should be just slightly more than a clubhead's width apart. Place a ball on the ground between the two clubs, take your best chipping posture and chip the ball toward the target, making sure that the clubhead stays between the two clubs going back and through; your clubhead should extend straight down the target line after impact and not cross over the clubs to the inside.

Hit 15 chip shots this way. You'll be amazed at how many chips go in or lip out once you've gotten the hang of it. Note: if you have difficulty maintaining a straight-back, straight through motion on longer chip shots, try using your 7- or 8-iron instead of a wedge. By using a longer club, you'll be able to easily get the ball to the hole without making any drastic changes to your chipping motion.

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