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Lesson tee

Don't Drag The Handle

Why 'hands ahead' is killing your short game

Jim McLean

Tee time: Stick a tee in the grip, and make sure it points at one spot from start to finish.

November 2011

Most golfers have been taught to chip by pushing their hands ahead of the ball at address, then dragging the handle through impact with the hands leading the clubhead. The thinking is, this creates a downward strike for solid contact. But trying to keep the hands ahead often causes the left arm to pull the butt end of the club away from center, which actually makes it harder to catch the ball flush.

The best chippers make a small pivot or body turn toward the target as they swing through. This helps keep the arms and body moving in sync. To groove this, try my tee drill: Stick a tee in the butt end of the grip, set up with the tee pointing just forward of your belly button, and keep it pointing at that spot throughout the swing. Play the ball slightly back in your stance, and put more weight on your left side. As you swing, retain the triangle formed by your arms and shoulders.

The tee in the grip should stay close to your body and move to the left as you turn through the shot (above, left). And it should stay pointed at the spot where it started (above, right). That proves your arms and body are in sync, and your chipping is sure to improve.

Jim McLean, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami.

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