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.
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
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Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.