I learned this shot from one of the best, Ray Floyd. He spent about three hours with me one afternoon in Hartford, CT teaching me how to hit those little shots from just off the green. It’s an important shot to have in your arsenal. What’s really fun is when you start holing out from off the edge of the green. In some ways it’s easier than putting. You will make some of these shots to the unhappiness of your opponent – but to your great joy. It’s the shots on and around the green that get your scores low and keep them there.
You will have a lot of fun learning this shot because you will get very good at it very quickly. This is the shot from the short grass from just off the edge of the green. The distance from the green can vary from a couple inches to a few yards.
The reason we chip rather than putt is because we expect to have the ball go in the hole. Putting through the long grass will throw the ball off-line and make judging the speed difficult. The idea is to hit the ball in the air just to the edge of the green and get the ball on the ground all the way to the hole, just like a putt. It should become a putt as soon as it hits the ground, never bouncing. Your seven iron should be the club of choice.
For your learning session, put your ball five feet from the edge of the green and choose a hole about 20 feet from the edge of the green.
In the address position the feet are very close together, heels almost touching, and the line through the toes is 45 degrees to the left of the target. The club head is aligned with the target line. The ball is played off the middle of the right toe, so it is way back in the stance. This is done to help take the loft off the club and to produce the low running shot you want. With the ball so far back in the stance, off the right toe, your hands will naturally fall forward of the club head. Since this is a very short shot, your hands should be at the bottom of the grip almost on the shaft. To preset the conditions so the result is a low shot, put a little more weight forward on the left foot than on the right foot. Now that we've covered the address position, let's move on to the swing.
Even for such a small shot like the chip the stroke is made with the “big muscles. " Once again, proper weight transfer is the major cause of the swing. With this small swing the weight transfer is not as obvious as the driver swing. It is seen in the movement of the knees.
If the arms try to move the arms, or the hands try to move the club head, they will destroy this shot just like they ruin a full swing. Relaxation will result in an impact position with your hands well ahead of the club head. This will de-loft the club and produce the very low-trajectory shot you need. It is absolutely necessary for your shoulders to be completely relaxed during this swing, just as with the full swing. With a little bit of practice, you will become very good at this and start expecting to make some of these shots during your rounds of golf. Have fun with this shot.
In Concept Golf schools, we begin the chip shot session with a pitching wedge. We ask the golfers to hit chip shots from five-feet off the green to a pin that is 10 feet from the edge of the green. This is a low running shot just like the seven iron, and it is fun and a valuable shot to have in your bag. Depending on how far your ball is from the edge of the green and how far the pin is from the edge of the green, you can chip with any club from the four iron to the pitching wedge.
John Toepel is a Veteran PGA Tour Player, instructor, author, and professional speaker. He is also the discoverer of Concept Golf, the quickest way to immediate, life-long lasting improvements to anyone's golf game. To learn more about Concept Golf, including the most comprehensive golf instruction system ever, “The Concept Golf Perfect Shot Making System", please visit http://www.conceptgolf.com/PSMS.htm and Discover the Par Golfer in You!