Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

Short Game

The Chip Without The Chunk

February 20, 2013

I was teaching a low-handicapper the other day who had a classic problem with his chipping: His lower body was frozen, so he wasn't rotating through the shot. He was stuck on his right side and throwing his hands at the ball, hitting chunks.

His problem started with squaring his right foot at address, the toe of his shoe pointing straight out. This put his right knee in a stuck position, so he didn't have the fluid release of that knee on the downswing that you see from good chippers. I had him angle in his right foot 30 degrees. This did two things: (1) It put more weight on his left side, where it should be, and (2) it set up that natural shift of the knee, allowing him to pivot forward and hit down on the ball (right).

Take your chipping setup, and check your back foot. If it's square, you're asking for poor contact. Angle it in, like I had my student do, and you'll hit better chips.


From within 10 yards of the hole, PGA Tour players last year chipped the ball on average to three feet, seven inches. That's almost gimme range. You might never be that good, but there's no reason you should always take three shots to hole out from just off the green. The last-ranked player in that stat chipped on average to five feet, and the pros make 80 percent of their putts of that distance. The way to get up and down more is to chip closer to the hole. Do that, and you'll clean up on your weekend bets.


Jim McLean, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Doral Golf Resort & Spa Miami.