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For Chipping Try the 6 - 8 - 10 Method.

For Chipping Try the 6 – 8 – 10 Method.

This is the November 1997 Monthly Golf Tip. Brought to you by Mel Sole, Director of Instruction at the Mel Sole Golf Schools, headquartered at Pawleys Plantation Golf and Country Club in Pawleys Island, SC

For Chipping Try the 6 – 8 – 10 Method.

The golden rule in chipping is: Fly the ball as little as possible and roll the ball as much as possible.

The Process

With that in mind, it is important to understand the air-time/ground-time ratios of shots hit with different clubs. The selection of the correct club is vital. You can chip with anything from a three iron to a sand wedge depending on the situation, but you must know the following formulas to decide which club is required.

When you chip with a 10 iron (or Pitching Wedge as it is commonly called) the ball will fly 1/2 the distance to the hole and roll 1/2 the distance. When you use an 8 iron the ball will fly 1/3 and roll 2/3, and a 6 iron the ball will fly 1/4 and roll 3/4.

Now these formulas are based on a normal paced, level green (a situation we don’t often find on the course) so if you are going uphill you would need to go up one club, and downhill requires going down one club. If the green is fast you again will need to go down one club and if the green is slow you will go up one club. I know this may sound confusing at first, but once you understand the basic formula, it really is common sense from then on.

CLUB
LEVEL
UPHILL / SLOW
DOWNHILL / FAST
6 iron
Fly 1/4 Roll 3/4
4 iron
8 Iron
8 Iron
Fly 1/3 Roll 2/3
6 Iron
P/Wedge
P/Wedge
Fly 1/2 Roll 1/2
8 Iron
Lob Wedge

In the diagram, I have drawn 3 different chipping situations. Always try to land the ball about 3 feet onto the putting surface (dotted line) and let the ball roll the rest of the way.

The Technique

chip1.jpg (22391 bytes)chip2.jpg (24580 bytes)

At the address position, the weight is on the front foot, with the ball position in the middle of the feet.  The hands are then slightly ahead of the ball.

The most important aspect of chipping is to make sure that the lead wrist does not break down during the chipping motion. The moment the wrist breaks down two things happen:

1. The loft on the club changes, therefore changing the trajectory which in turn affects the roll of the ball. Inconsistent distances will result.

2. The arm breaks down as well, causing bladed shots that go screaming across the green.

To ensure that neither of these things happens, work on keeping your arm straight and your wrist firm during the shot. If you find this difficult to achieve in practice, take a thick rubber band and place it around your wrist. Slide the butt end of the club under the elastic band. Keep the butt end of the club close to the wrist. This will give you the correct feel when chipping the ball.

If you wish to lower your handicap, miss a few sessions on the driving range.  Head for the chipping green instead. You’ll love the results to your game – your opponents won’t!

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