Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club

Short Game

Don't Forget the Lower Body On Chips

By Butch Harmon Photos by J.D. Cuban
August 12, 2013

Let your body rotate forward on chip shots. This helps you make a descending strike and hit the ball before you hit the ground. It gets your weight to your front foot and keeps the shaft leaning toward the target at impact—all things you see in great chippers. I think of the right knee as a trigger for the downswing. Give it a try: Swing the clubhead back, then kick your right knee toward your left knee (see photo). This will unlock your right side and get your whole body rotating forward.


Don't keep your body still. I know you've been told to lean on your front foot and stay there on chip shots—which is good advice—but you also need a little release of the body as you swing through. If you don't let the body go, the clubhead tends to swing past the hands and scoop the ball (see photo). The result is usually a fat or bladed shot. Even if you do catch it solidly, when the club flips forward like that, you're hitting with more loft, so it can be tough to judge distance. Let your body move through with your arms.

Here's a great drill for learning to get to your front side on chip shots. Take your normal setup, then slide your back foot six inches away from the target line and lift the heel (see photo). This will set your weight on your front foot. Practice chipping with your weight staying forward and the shaft leaning toward the target through impact. This drill also pre-sets your right knee in a kicked-in position, which promotes a little forward body turn and good contact (see main tip).

Butch Harmon, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf, at Rio Secco Golf Club, Henderson, Nev.