How to Not Fluff Chip Shots
Every aspiring golfer has heard that each chip shot should come to a halt within a three foot circle of the pin in order to have a greater chance of making the subsequent putt. However, for the vast majority of us who play golf, all we'd like to do is land the golf ball somewhere near the pin - forget three feet, twenty feet will do.
The key to just getting the ball back in play is having the ability to hit the ball... as cleanly as possible. Forget about the well-documented "hands forward" or "acceleration" tips that you hear all the time. Here are four different thoughts to keep in mind next time you practice or are playing a round of golf. Put all four together, or just pick the one that suits your game.
1. Set up with your hips open
One of the most difficult aspects of chipping is the fact that shots around the green require finesse. Why is it that you rarely fluff a full swing, but chips shots are a practice in patience? When taking a full swing, your hips move into an open position (meaning turned toward the target) without you even being aware of it. This is the proper way to hit a golf ball, so why not set up for a chip shot with your hips open too? This will ensure that the fact that the chipping swing is short and, generally, slow will not hinder your ability to make clean contact.
2. Concentrate on the golf ball
How many times have you hit a golf shot and realized that you weren't really concentrating on the golf ball? Try to make sure that when you're chipping, you're really focusing on the golf ball. Stare at the golf ball logo, or your individual mark, or a specific dimple... Anything, just focus. As long as your focusing on hitting the ball and not on where the ball ends up, you're good. But if you really can't focus, then watch the golf ball until the downswing and you should be fine.
3. Hit down on the ball
OK, this one might be a very common tip, but it's quite important. Anything other than a downward strike just doesn't work in golf shots other than with the Driver and off the tee. The goal for us is to get the ball somewhere near the vicinity of the hole, so let's not skull the ball over the back of the green.
Even if it's a ridiculous hack (like you're trying to put a hole in the turf) is better than hitting up on the ball when chipping, so visualize that. Pretend your golf ball is sitting on the top of a slide, and swing as if you're trying to hit the ball down the slide. And if that image doesn't help you, then just finish with the club low. Swing hard, finish low.
4. Take a pause at the top of your backswing
Consciously pausing, even if for a split-second, will ensure you're tempo is good. Having good tempo is half of the battle in golf. If you're swing is out of sync then you're making the game harder than it has to be. So pause for a bit at the top of your swing.
One, two, pause... chip!