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lesson tee

Use Your Right Side

It will help you hit better chip shots.

June 2012

For years it has been taught that when you're chipping, the left arm governs the motion and controls the clubface. Although that might be true, most of the right-handed golfers I've worked with have superior fine-motor skills in their dominant hand, and they would be better off using the right arm to control the chipping motion.

Get your right side more involved with this drill: Try hitting chips with your right hand only. At address, lean the shaft a little toward the target so your right wrist is in a cupped position, and maintain that as you take the club back. When you swing down, let your body pivot toward the target. If you keep the body pivot and arm swing moving together, your right wrist should stay cupped through impact (see video below).

The cupped-wrist position will help you hit down on the ball, a key to solid contact. And the right-arm-only swing will improve your feel for trajectory and distance control. When it's time to put two hands on the club, you'll have more command of this shot.

bubba watson putting

FOLEY FILES

The key to putting well in the U.S. Open is to hit your approach shot to a spot where you'll have a straight--and preferably uphill--putt, like Bubba Watson faces here. It's good advice for any course with slick greens, but at Olympic there are five-footers that can break almost five feet, so aiming at the flag isn't always the best strategy.

My friend Jason Goldsmith, an owner of the golf-club-alignment company True Aim, explained to me that the key to putting well is to have the straightest putt possible. With a straight putt, you need to focus only on speed instead of focusing on speed and gravity (break). When you think of the most common pin positions at your home course, note the spots on the greens that will give you the straightest putts to that hole location. You'll not only improve your chances of one-putting, you'll also become more specific with your targets, which will lead to better accuracy on approach shots.

Sean Foley, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at the Core Golf Junior Academy, outside of Orlando.

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