Golf Tip: 'The Chip Shot'

The chip shot is crucial to low scores - even the tour professionals miss an average of six greens per round yet somehow still manage to score under par. This is due to expert chipping.

Even the average golfer can become an excellent chipper; it does not require strength or a great deal of skill. To master the chip shot, the golfer must have a uniform approach to the shot, as a consistent way of tackling this often frustrating shot leads to more consistent results.

The first step is to determine if you should chip (low rolling shot) or pitch (higher stopping shot). A good rule of thumb is that a chip will roll approximately twice as far as it flies. Determine if the ball can land on the green and still roll twice as far as it flew; if the answer is yes, select the chip shot - if not, the pitch is the appropriate shot.

The best club is the pitching wedge, and moving the ball back in the stance to aid clean contact reduces the loft on the club, effectively turning the wedge into a 7- or 8-iron. Play the ball even with the right foot and push the hands a little further forward than normal, and more weight should be on the front foot.

Swing the club in a one-piece motion, the arms, hands and shoulders moving as a unit. The club should swing back and forth equal distance. The most important part of this swing is that the club head must not pass the left arm on the forward swing. At the completion of the swing, hold the position for balance on the front foot and check that the left arm and club are in a straight line pointing to the ground.

Always pick a specific landing area for the shot. Practice by placing a tee in the ground at the spot you have chosen to land the ball, hit some shots and make the necessary adjustments.

- The Golf Learning Center is offering drop-in lessons for juniors at Eagle Valley Golf Course on Wednesdays from 4:30-6 p.m. at $7 per person or $6 with siblings. The next junior camp is July 11-13. Call 885-8225 for details.

(Terry Gingell is a PGA Class A Professional and is the owner and operator of The Golf Learning Center, an indoor golf school specializing in video golf lessons and professionally custom fit golf clubs. Send golf questions and comments to Terry at


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