May 29, 2008

Master these two chips

Your lie will tell you which technique to use

SITTING UP (top): With the ball perched up on the grass, play it back and make a sweeping motion with less leg drive. DOWN DEEP (bottom): With the ball down in the grass, center it in your stance, hinge your wrists and drive your legs forward.

SITTING UP (top): With the ball perched up on the grass, play it back and make a sweeping motion with less leg drive.

DOWN DEEP (bottom): With the ball down in the grass, center it in your stance, hinge your wrists and drive your legs forward.

The tougher of the two shots above is the one with the ball sitting up, because you can slide the club right under it and whiff it. To hit this shot, you have to play the ball off your back foot and take a narrow stance with your knees straight. From there, make a simple sweeping motion, like a long putt. Rotate your body back and through, keeping your wrists firm and your legs quiet. If you shift your knees forward on the downswing, you'll drive the club down and risk swinging under the ball. You want to clip it, not dig.

The other shot pictured is the buried lie. For that one, you do need some leg action to get the club under the ball. Take a slightly wider stance, and play the ball in the center. On the backswing, hinge your wrists sharply to create the steep angle you'll need coming into impact. Drive your knees toward the target on the downswing, and extend your arms down and through. Picture the letter V -- that's the shape you want as you swing into the ball. Don't worry about the follow-through -- the thick grass will cut off your swing. Focus on shifting into the shot and swinging down steeply.

Ranked No. 1 on Golf Digest's 50 Greatest Teachers, Harmon runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf, at Rio Secco, Henderson, Nev. Click here for more tips from Harmon.