124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Chip it close

This PGA Tour winner's chipping practice advice will help every golfer


There’s nothing more frustrating than a bad chip, be it a skull, chunk, or dreaded double-chip. Not only do those shots guarantee a bogey (at best), they can also shake your confidence around the green. It puts more pressure on to get up and down—which never yields positive results.

Some coaches preach club selection, saying low running shots are the easiest to hit consistently. Others are more traditional and prefer a higher-lofted chip onto the green. But there’s one thing that most coaches fail to mention—probably because they think you already know it.

Landing spots.

Where you land the ball informs your club selection, and the type of shot you want to hit. Most golfers overlook this aspect of chipping, but it could be the key to having a more successful short game.

Rather than practice a bunch of different shots, pick one shot, and one landing spot. This will allow you to gain a better understanding for how much the ball will release every time and how hard you need to hit it to get your ball there.

The more you practice this, the better you will get at predicting your roll out.

Mutliple golf balls, one landing spot

To practice this, Gabriel Hjertstedt, a two-time PGA Tour winner, says to find an object like a leaf (you can put a tee or towel on the ground, too) to establish a landing spot for your chips. Hjertstedt says that picking a spot is more than just figuring out the distance your ball will release. He reads his chips like he would a putt, adjusting the landing spot for elements like break or grain.

In the video below, you’ll notice that Hjertstedt’s landing spot method helps him to hit the ball within a foot or two of the hole every time—even if he doesn’t hit it in the sweet spot. That’s the beauty of focusing on your landing spot. You don't need to hit it perfectly every time to have a general idea of how the ball is going to react once it comes back to earth.

Hjertstedt says to start small and get comfortable picking and hitting landing spots from shorter distances. And as you improve your feel, move further back.