Short Game

Fix the Chipping Yips


One of my students, Roy Fugazy, came to me last year with a common problem that led us to an uncommon solution. Whether it was too many bad memories of skulled shots or just pure tension, Roy, who is 50, had the chipping yips. He struggled to keep his hands and arms from trembling through impact, and he would flick at the ball in desperation (above, left).

I tried several ways to help him beat these yips, but what worked best might surprise you.

Roy, who plays right-handed, now chips left-handed. Some sport psychologists say this works because it's like rebooting a computer. The stance, grip and swing were completely new to Roy, so there were no bad memories to influence his stroke. Now he sets up as if he's looking in a mirror at his right-handed stance: His weight favors his right foot; his stance is aligned slightly to the right of the target; and his hands have switched positions on the club. He makes sure the shaft is leaning forward at address. Now he has no problem maintaining that shaft lean through impact for solid contact (above, right).

If you can't get rid of the chipping yips, this might be the medicine you need.