Strategy dot Address dot Backswing dot Follow-Through dot Whole Swing

Paul Runyan Is the Short Game Genius

The chip shot should be played when you are within 15 yards of the green, you are too far from the putting surface to comfortably putt the ball, and the ball is sitting in fairly short grass. Your goal is to softly land the ball on a spot 3' onto the green and roll it the correct distance to the hole like a putt.

Chipping the ball is easier to gauge than pitching the ball because less clubhead speed is involved. This is because the left shoulder controls and powers the chip shot, and there is no wrist action involved. Pitching the ball is more difficult because more clubhead speed is involved, due to the fact that the pitch shot is a part-swing of the club and there is a hinging of the wrists.

Select the iron that will fly the ball on the lowest trajectory, will hit your landing spot 3' onto the green, and will roll the ball the correct distance to the hole. The lower the shot travels to the ground, the easier it is to gauge the force needed to hit the ball the correct distance. The faster the speed of the green and the shorter distance of green you have to stop the ball, the more lofted of iron you should select. Avoid the tendency to select an iron with too little loft.

You must be able to deliver a descending clubhead to the back of the ball without any grass catching and altering the clubface motion before it contacts the ball. When addressing a chip shot, grip down to the metal with a 1—5-iron and grip half way down to the metal with a 6-iron—sand wedge. This makes it easier to play the ball as close to your feet as possible and position
your eyes directly over the ball.

The chip shot is similar to the putting motion. Power the chip shot with your left shoulder. Lock your arms, wrists, and hands into a single solid unit, as this produces the least clubhead speed variance from shot to shot. Never feel any wrist breaks on the chip shot.

Listen for the “pop” of the ball landing on the green before you look up to watch the shot. This ensures that you kept your head down and still at the moment of impact, so you deliver a square clubface to the ball.

Here is an example swing key from the Chipping chapter of Modern Golf Thoughts:


Concentrate on landing the ball on a spot 3 feet onto the green. From there, the ball will roll to the hole like a putt.

Read the slope of the green so you play the correct amount of break when the chip rolls to the hole like a putt.

The Chipping chapter of Modern Golf Thoughts has 14 swing keys in these sections--Strategy / Address / Backswing / Follow-Through / Whole Swing.

Be aggressive when chipping the ball. Play your chip shots to roll 3 feet beyond the hole if they do not go into the hole. If you leave 40% of your chip shots short of the hole or on the low side of the slope, you only have a chance to make 60% of them.

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