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How to hit downhill chips: 4 must-dos for more up-and-downs

September 09, 2023

Most golfers think the only way to make the ball go up is to lift the ball into the air. This mistaken idea can make chip shots off downslopes very scary. It exposes golfers’ tendency to work backwards, away from the ball, as they attempt to lift the ball up. They’ll often skull chip shots because of it. When it comes to hitting chip shots off downslopes, the goal isn’t to fight the slope, but to use it. Move your chest, hands and weight forward with the slope. That’s the feeling you want on a chip shot, and if you do that, you’ll have a better understanding of what actually helps the ball into the air. — Joe Plecker, Director of Instruction, Landings Club, Savannah, Ga., Golf Digest Best in State Teacher

How To Hit Downhill Chips

  • Match your shoulders to the slope
  • Align ball position under center
  • Move the grip towards the target
  • Feel your weight flow forward

How To Hit Downhill Chips Step #1: Match Slope

Uncomfortable as it may seem, the goal of these shots is to swing along the slope. You can only accomplish this if you match your shoulders to the slope. That will create a shallow, sweeping path. Your club will move down the hill, which will help ensure solid contact.

How To Hit Downhill Chips Step #2: Under center

One feeling that will tilt your shoulders to the hill is thinking about keeping your upper body perpendicular to the slope. Your shoulders are parallel to the slope, but your sternum is directly over the golf ball, at a 90-degree angle to the ground you’re standing on. This is one simple element that can create a lot of good things.

How To Hit Downhill Chips Step #3: Hands forward

The final key element here is to move the handle forward. This is going to help the club glide a little better through impact, and allow you to have a enough forward shaft lean, even with the slope, to hit the ball on a descending blow.

How To Hit Downhill Chips Step #4: Flow forward

As you move through the shot, remember that there should be no effort to move backwards. Feel your body pressure flow forward, down the slope and towards the target. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but the ball will pop out soft and spinny.

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