We have all experienced the frustration and embarrassment of hitting a ‘bad’ chip shot… usually right when it matters the most. Fat, thin, skulled or ‘chili dipped’ are not the sorts of terms you want to associate with one of the shorter and easier shots in golf. One of the most common errors during a chip is to get ‘flippy’ with your wrists in the attempt to try to help get the ball up in the air or out of the rough. The wrists should stay quiet and lead the club head back to the ball without being the power source for the shot… leave that to the shoulders. One of the best ways to learn to keep your wrists quiet during your chipping stroke is to create a ‘chip stick’ to practice with. Find a broken shaft, wooden dowel, or better yet one of your alignment sticks and use it to create an extension of the shaft by running it up the butt end of the grip of your 7 iron several inches so that it extends out of the grip end of the club about 2 or 3 feet. Now set up to chip with the extension of the club resting against the target side of your upper body and keep it there when you make a stroke. The extension should not leave your body and then come back to smack you in the side when you bring the club head back to the ball. You should get an immediate feel for how much more the ‘shoulders’ are moving the club during the stroke. Once you get used to keeping your hands quiet, set up with the extension away from your side and hold it quietly away from your side during the entire stoke. This is one of the best ways to teach your hands to stay quiet during your chip shots. If you remember to keep your weight on your target foot during your chips as well, getting up and down from around the greens will become a lot easier.
Play well, Dave Lengyel