A Chipping Tip From Carl Smith

by Carl Smith, PGA Tour Caddie

Good chipping can only come from a consistent set up and a crisp contact. Set yourself up with a narrow stance, your front foot flared toward the target. Shift your weight slightly to the left foot, so that your center moves on top of the ball. While swinging, it’s important that the angle you create on your backswing be maintained throughout the downswing. You can achieve this by keeping the club accelerating, and by having your chest move through the hitting zone.

I’ve seen the best chippers on tour rely on a sand wedge more than their lob wedge. They do this because a sand wedge has more bounce, and that bounce acts as an insurance policy for solid contact. This is especially true in wet, grainy, or tight lies. Focus on making clean, consistent contact before your shift your focus to the target.

A good drill to finding this consistent contact would be to start by finding the bottom of the arc in your chipping and pitching. Draw a line in the grass with either your club or a tee. Practice brushing the grass on the line with your chipping motion. Then put a ball on the line after you have made a couple of practice swings. With the ball now on the line make the same motion that gave you that sensation of brushing the grass. Go back and forth from practicing on the line and then having the ball there. This will help replicate that clean consistent contact you are looking for to save you shots around the green.

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