If you happen to watch the Masters this past month, you witnessed one of the greatest finishes by someone other than Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. Zach Johnson displayed great poise and near perfect execution through the finishing holes on Sunday. Zach Johnson’s chip on the final hole was perfect and this sealed the event for the young man from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. With this in mind, practice the following fundamentals and you will be chipping better than ever.
• First of all, determine which club will give you the best results for the distance you want to hit the shot. For example, as a rule of thumb, you want to chip your ball 1/3 of the distance in the air and 2/3 of the distance on the ground. Always think minimum air time, maximum ground time.
• Once you have chosen the correct club, the concept of the chip shot is actually an extension of putting. The putting stroke is a pendulum, in which your wrists never break down; this is the same type of swing motion you want to execute from off the green.
• Next, play the ball in the back of your stance and swing the club back and through, with your club, hands, arms, and shoulders swinging together. Land the golf ball on your intermediate point (1/3 of the distance) on the green and let the golf ball roll out. The firm wrists will keep the clubhead on the proper path and provide for a more solid strike of the ball. By placing the ball in the back of your stance, you will hit the ball with a downward blow, which will pop the ball up in the air, land on the green and roll out.
• Finally, when practicing this technique, accuracy is the premium. The way to better accuracy with this shot is to draw a two-foot circle around the hole and try to chip inside that circle. When you can chip 20 in a row into the circle from one spot, move to another spot and begin again. Also, try to use different clubs for the chip shots. This will help you develop more feel and confidence in your ability. Interestingly, you will be amazed as to how many shots you chip into the hole trying to get inside the two-foot circle.
The greatest purpose of this practice session is to get your chipping stroke to mimic your putting stroke. Flipping your wrists during the chip shot will create a sculled shot across the green or a chunked shot that you hit behind the ball and lay sod over the ball. Neither will produce positive results. Always remember the most important thing about golf and practicing is to have fun.
As always, if you need assistance with this tip or any other golf tip, visit one of the Southwest Section PGA professionals near you.
Tune into SPORTS 620 KTAR every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 for the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show for more tips, updates on all of the weeks golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Marty Monaghan and Jim Hill for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week. You can also catch them on the Internet by going to www.ktar.com, click on sports, then click on listen now. And, if you have any questions about this drill or would like to have a drill featured, or if you would like to schedule a golf lesson with Greg at Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia, feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.