Last month in my cover story, I talked about developing flight-to-roll ratios around the greens. For your chipping clubs, you need to know how much of the shot is in the air and how much is on the ground. Then you can pick the right club for any situation.
“HIT A FEW CHIPS BEFORE YOU PLAY: ARE THE GREENS FIRM? SLOW?”
To establish your ratios, take your chipping clubs and a beach towel to the practice green. Find a flat area, and set the towel lengthwise just onto the green, creating a six-foot-by-three-foot target. Using your pitching wedge, hit chips trying to land the ball on the towel. As you get in a groove, calculate what percentage of each chip is in the air and what percentage is on the ground. After you find your pitching-wedge ratio—mine is 40 percent flight, 60 percent roll—use the same process with your other clubs. I go from 60-40 for my lob wedge to 20-80 for my 8-iron.
The next step is being able to hit a precise landing spot. Fold the towel in half, into a three-foot square, and try to land chips on the towel. Pitching wedge first, then the others. Then fold the towel again, to three feet long by a foot and a half wide, and go through the same process.
Once you have your ratios and can hit a small landing spot, remember one more thing: Be flexible. Before you play, chip with your pitching wedge to see if you get your normal ratio. If you don't—maybe the greens are fast or slow—adjust the ratio and recalibrate for the other clubs.
Michael Breed is Golf Digest's Chief Digital Instructor.
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