Golf Digest editors picks

Visualize Your Chips

For more up-and-downs, 'see' the ball land and roll

Lesson Tee: Jim Flick

from the pin back: Determine the putt you want, then where the ball should land to finish there.

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November 2009

We've all heard and read about visualization on full-swing shots. The most successful players often talk about "seeing" their drives and approaches flying through the air and even curving toward the target.

Indeed, visualization is a beautiful thing, and there's no doubt it can help you execute better shots. But you should also practice the technique on your short shots, even chips around the green.

First, check the lie to determine the shot you can play. Visualize the trajectory and rollout based on the lie. Then select the club and swing you need to create that trajectory.

I find it useful to determine the easiest putt I can leave myself if I don't hole the shot (say, two feet to the left of and beyond the pin in the photo here). That would give me a slight right-to-left, uphill putt. I visualize where my chip needs to land, hop and roll out to give me that putt. Then I make practice swings that would carry the ball to that landing spot.

Follow this procedure -- check the lie, then visualize from the hole back -- and you'll get those tricky chips up and down a lot more often.

FLICK, a longtime Golf Digest Teaching Professional and PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer, worked with hundreds of amateurs and tour players including Jack Nicklaus.

J.D. Cuban
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