The Recipe For Better Chips
I cringe when I hear people say the mechanics of a chip shot are just like a putting stroke. It's like saying sprinting is like jogging. Sure, the goal on both shots is to make a shoulder-driven swing and not let the clubshaft pass the hands until after impact—in other words, don't let the wrists break. But here's the difference: The lower body stays basically still in putting, but in chipping it should move quite a bit. Specifically, your body should pivot around your front leg as you swing through impact (above).
At the same time, your left arm should guide the clubshaft through the strike. Blend these two components, and you'll hit better shots around the green.
Keep this in mind once you start chipping it close. In 561 putting attempts from five feet or less last year, PGA Tour player Kyle Thompson made 94 percent of them. Where did that rank him? Dead last, 191st place. That's how good these guys are when they get inside five feet.
Remember, getting up and down is not about making mid-range putts; it's about chipping close enough to set up easy saves.
Rick Smith, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Mich.