We can’t stress enough the importance of chipping and pitching during a round of golf. We all saw that on display during the PGA Championship a few months ago while Justin Thomas and Will Zalatoris battled for the Wannamaker Trophy.
On the first playoff hole we saw Thomas lay up to about 100 yards and place his trust in his ability to control trajectory and spin. On the very next hole, Zalatoris displayed another fantastic shot from a tight greenside lie. Both players provided themselves the chance to make putts inside 8ft. But how do they do it?
Chipping in golf: distance control
Simply put, controlling the distance of your pitch or chip shots is directly related to two factors, length of swing and the pace you swing at. A faster paced swing combined with a mid-range take away (thinking of a clock, 3:00 take away 9:00 follow through) will drive the ball flight lower and allow for shots to skip once or twice before checking up. While the opposite is true for longer, slower paced swings. These types of swings will produce slightly higher ball flights landing softly without much “check”.
Chipping in golf: Bruise The Ground
One thing to keep in mind when chipping or pitching is the angle of attack into the golf ball. No longer should the motto be “hands forward, weight forward hit down on the back of the ball” be used. A shallower angle of attack combined with a bruising of the ground should be the new thought process.
You should feel as if the hands and body are releasing through the shot, and the bottom of the club (the bounce) is meeting the ground. If the leading edge is getting stuck, try opening the face a little to expose more bounce of the golf club. Set your hips and shoulders slightly open to the target line to also aid in the release pattern.
A small bruise should be left in the turf not the Panama Canal.
Andrew Heffernan - Head Golf Pro, Indiana Country Club