No-Chunk Chipping: Stand Closer To Simplify Your Swing
Chipping isn't complicated, but a lot of golfers make it so. One issue I see is that they stand too far from the ball, like they're hitting an iron shot (above). From there, the club swings around the body on a circular arc—good for the full swing but bad for chipping. That bigger motion makes you slow the club down before impact for fear of hitting the ball too far. You wind up chunking it.
To simplify things, get closer to the ball with the shaft more vertical. Feel like the clubhead is up on its toe (below). This sets up a straighter swing path, with the clubface always looking down the line you want to hit the ball, not rotating open and closed. Plus, the swing will be shorter, so less can go wrong.
Try this routine: First, step in with your back foot, directly across from the ball and about 10 inches from it. Then, aim the clubface at your target. Finally, step in with your front foot—that'll help settle your weight forward, where it needs to be throughout the swing. Make sure the shaft is leaning a bit toward the target, and then it's just a simple brush back and through.
HOW TO ADD FEEL
I use my putting grip when chipping because it gives me better feel—and little chips are serious feel shots. It also gets me in a putting mind-set, feeling more "over the ball" and zoned in on a target. All you're trying to do is get the ball over the grass in front of you and let it run out. Why land it on the green instead of the fringe? The bounce is more predictable.
Butch Harmon is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.