Short Game

Butch Harmon's Simple Setup Tips Will Eliminate Chunks Or Skulls

By Butch Harmon Photos by Dom Furore
September 05, 2019

Photo by Dom Furore

When I get students who complain about poor chipping, here's where I go first: How far are they standing from the ball? If you're more than a foot away, you're adding variables that just aren't necessary. The biggest issue is, the club will tend to swing around your body, with the face fanning open (above). It's hard to hit a good chip from that position.

Here's a simpler way to go. Start with your back foot across from the ball, and get very close to it. That sets the ball position back in your stance. Then, sole the clubhead behind the ball, and aim the face on the line you want the shot to start. Raise the grip, so the shaft is more upright. Finally, put your front foot in position—keeping the stance narrow—and lean your weight and the grip a touch toward the target. Now you're ready to make a simple back-and-through stroke, hitting slightly down on the ball.


Photo by Dom Furore

The key is getting the shaft more vertical at address. That keeps the clubface looking at the target as you swing back and through (above) and prevents the club from veering to the inside. From this setup, it's tough to hit the ball off line, or chunk or skull it. Why not keep it simple? — With Peter Morrice


Photo by Dom Furore

In my 20-plus years working with Golf Digest, I've written enough articles to fill a bookcase. But that's old school. Today, everybody wants golf instruction on their computers or their phones. Golf Digest is making that happen. With the launch of a new digital-instruction platform, Golf Digest All Access, you can get the best coaching in the game, all in video form. My first two video series—one on the full swing, one on the short game—are available now. Check them out, and see all the benefits of this great new program at

Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.