Short Game Secrets: Stop Chunking Your Chips and Pitch Shotsby Dave Nastalski
We've all been there. You've either smoked a 3 wood, hybrid or long iron up close to the green on that reachable par 5 and have a simple chip or pitch on your way to a cozy birdie. Then the inevitable happens, you either lay the sod over it or blade it over the back of the green and make bogey or worse. This repetitive cycle can be frustrating and turn a bad day into an even worse one. And it can hinder you from reaching your full chipping and pitch shot potential.
It does not have to be this way!
The importance of chip and pitch shots are often overlooked, but they are essential shots to master. Chip and pitch shots can often help you get out of tough situations and save players from losing strokes. Listen up for the most effortless and effective way to hit better chip and pitch shots on the golf course!
This drill is called the step drill. It is simple, can be practiced anywhere, and will improve your game expeditiously. You'll be on your way to a sharper short game and increasingly lower scores in golf the more you practice this four-step method.
Grab your favorite wedge and setup with your feet close together. Point your toes out. This aids in the rotary element that is needed for a really great short game. If there is one golf fundamental to having a really great short game, its the constant rotation of the body and chest.
With your trail foot, step away from the target about 2 inches. Once your foot hits the ground, begin your backswing. Before the backswing completes... move on to step 3.
With your lead foot, step towards the target about 2 inches. Don't start the downswing until your lead foot hits the ground.
Begin the downswing with soft arms and very rotational ribcage. Continue your rotation thru the shot. Get to a tall and balanced finish. The soft arms will allow you to use more of the bounce on the bottom of the wedge. At the finish, your weight should be resting primarily in the left heel, and we should see a little bit of the underside of the lead foot.
For some more clarification on this great short game drill, see the video below:
It really IS that simple. There is a common misconception that straight and locked arm chips are the best way to gain control around the green. I couldn't disagree more. Straight arm swings leave no room for flexibility, flow or athleticism. This can be increasingly problematic considering that locked arm chips are one of the the leading contributors to a poor impact position. Locked arms often lead to a loss of control and command around the putting green. We can not have Frankenstein arms and be a good short game player. We need to have softness in the limbs, and master the correct pressure drift using the 4 step method above to increase the flow and control of your golf swing. This will help you become an exceptional short game player, and an even better ball striker all around. Ensuring the proper flow of your center of gravity when practicing chip or pitch shots is essential to improving your game. When practicing this drill, you want to keep your limbs soft and your body flexible and flowing. This will lead to a much improved golf swing, and a lot more control of your golf ball! Believe it or not, we gain control by giving up a little control.
The four step method above is the fastest way to lower your scores BY FAR. It is easy to practice if you only have even a few spare minutes and just a little bit of space. By focusing on your short game, the pressure is taken off your long game. When you're confident over these shots, your putter tends to perform better as well. It's a win, win. Now, get to work!
While this drill can be practiced anywhere, you might want to check out a neat way to improve your golf game all year long with your very own backyard putting green. Having a company install a putting green in your backyard can get quite expensive. But by using artificial or synthetic turf, you can easily (and fairly inexpensively!) put together a DIY putting green of your own, transforming your backyard space at the same time!
Check out our step by step instructions on how to accomplish this.