Best Young Teachers
How to make chipping so much easier with a few minor adjustments
ALANA SWAIN, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, is an instructor at the PGA Tour Performance Center at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.
During my collegiate playing days, I carried a hybrid in my bag for one purpose only—to chip the ball from tight lies around the green. Whether you’re in the fringe 10 feet off the green or you have to navigate a steep slope (above), using a hybrid is an effective way to chip for those who struggle making solid contact with their wedges. The extra mass behind the clubface helps lift the ball just enough to power it through the fringe, all but eliminating fat contact or chips that come up well short of the hole. Best of all, you don’t have to hit the ball hard. You play the shot just like a putt, with a few minor adjustments. Let me show you how.
SET THE TOE DOWN
This is a shot you don’t want to hit hard, so treat it just as you would a putt. Choke down to the bottom of the grip (above, left) and stand closer to the ball (top), which shortens the shaft and makes it sit more upright, similar to your putter. Set the toe of the club down behind the ball, with the heel up in the air (above, right). This way, you’re impacting the ball on the toe and not the center of the clubface, dampening the contact some. Now, make your normal putting stroke for a shot of the same distance. Don’t add any power. Keep your stroke long and smooth, and the hybrid will take care of the rest.