Set, Slide and Score

Put some touch into your chipping game

April 26, 2022
Mike Bender

J.D. Cuban

There’s more than one way to chip, but no matter the method, one goal stays the same: You need to use the clubhead’s bounce, or trailing edge, to consistently hit good shots around the greens. By striking the ground with the bounce first—and not the leading edge—you can execute these shots without worrying about hitting them fat. You can even be super aggressive with your swing, and the club will still skim along the turf. I recommend two chipping methods for the recreational golfer: The hinge-and-hold method I’m demonstrating (above) and a stiff-wristed technique that is executed exactly how it sounds.

The hinge-and-hold method requires more practice but can really add some touch to your short game when performed properly. Set up in a very open stance. As you swing back, hinge your wrists fully, which opens the clubface. Now here’s the key: When you swing down and through impact, leave the shaft of the club leaning toward the target, making sure to maintain the hinge in your wrists while leading with the club’s heel. This exposes the club’s bounce, allowing the back side of the wedge to glide along the ground. Hold the finish with the face open and the clubhead below your hands.

Don’t have a lot of time to practice? Then go with the stiff-wristed technique, which should help create consistently good contact. To use it, set up with the shaft neutral or leaning slightly back (for higher shots). That will put your hands even or slightly behind the ball, which allows the club to rest on the bounce, making it difficult to chunk the shot. Then rotate your body back and through while keeping your arms and wrists stiff. Return the shaft to the same position it was at address, and you’ll give yourself the best chance to chip it close and get up and down. —With Dave Allen