October 13, 2021
Chipping is an essential skill that you should master if you are looking to improve your game overall. Experimenting with different trajectories will help you improve your feel around the green as you shave off each lap. If you’re looking for a fun way to practice different trajectories, I have a great exercise for you. All you need are 2-5 alignment sticks, golf balls, and a wedge.
First, choose a location to practice your chip strokes and make sure you have enough space behind you to set up a few more punch stations, much like a ladder drill. Take the first alignment rod, push it into the ground, and flex it to get a low trajectory. Place another stick near the same spot, but tilt it to show a slightly higher trajectory. Repeat this process with sticks 3, 4 and 5.
With your station set, you can practice hitting all trajectories or decide which is best based on the shot you hit. To do this, calculate how much rand to carry, how much green you have between the edge and the hole, how much downhill you are, how fast the greens are, and how confident you are to hit the shot. Once you’ve determined which club trajectory to adjust, stay below, or stay in between, you need to consider the factors necessary to hit that shot, including club choice, club area, ball position, length of swing (depending on the amount of carry / roll, you are aiming for) and the swing speed.
How Changing Ball Position Can Instantly Improve Your Chipping
If this all sounds overwhelming, don’t worry – it isn’t! Here’s an example: Let’s say I choose stick 1, which is the lowest trajectory. That said, my goal is to keep the ball below racket 1 level. I choose my 56 degree wedge, use a square clubface, bring the ball back into my stance, use a relatively short swing on either side and a slower swing speed. Watch the ball bounce off the clubface with each stroke, then adjust the length of the swing or speed to change the result.
Let’s say you choose a trajectory between racket 3 and racket 4. This requires a higher trajectory shot, I choose my 60 degree wedge (or my tallest loft wedge), use an open club face, place the ball in the middle or in front of the middle of my stance, use a relatively short backswing with a longer finish and medium to high speed. Remember that there are several combinations of swing lengths to create this trajectory.
Don’t be afraid to experiment! As you work on these trajectories, you will find that your short game will improve immensely. Ask? Contact me at g[email protected] and I’ll be happy to get back to you.
Georgette Rolle is Head Professional at Baha Mar in the Bahamas and Lead Instructor at the Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy.