lesson teeAugust 12, 2013

Do You Push Or Pull Your Chips?

Find out with these one-arm drills

THE PUSHER (left): If your right arm drives the chipping stroke, use a little more body rotation. THE PULLER (right): If your left arm takes the lead on chips, focus on leaning the shaft to the target.

THE PUSHER (left): If your right arm drives the chipping stroke, use a little more body rotation.

THE PULLER (right): If your left arm takes the lead on chips, focus on leaning the shaft to the target.

Some golfers naturally control the chipping motion with their right arm, and others do it with their left. If you're struggling to make solid contact, it might be because you're trying to drive the motion with the wrong arm. Start by figuring out whether you're a right-arm-dominant chipper and should use a pushing action, or you're left-arm dominant and should use a pulling action. (Note: Your dominant arm in chipping is not necessarily your throwing arm.) Hit some chips with only one hand on the club, alternating hands. After a while, you'll know which arm is more effective.

If you find out you're right-arm dominant, focus on pushing the handle of the club through impact as your body pivots toward the target (above, left). Pushers usually have a little more body rotation through the shot than pullers do.

If you're left-arm dominant, feel as if you're pulling the handle, leaning the shaft forward at impact (above, right). In other words, focus on the grip being closer to the target than the clubhead at impact.

FOLEY FILES

Instead of opening the clubface to pitch the ball higher, try a more reliable way of adding loft: Lower your hands at address. The lower you keep the grip end of the club on the downswing, the shallower your path into the ball. A shallow, or skimming, path helps slide the face under the ball for extra height.

SEAN FOLEY, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at the Core Golf Junior Academy near Orlando.