June 17, 2008

Tiger Woods: My chipping basics

Stable wrists and a compact swing make greenside shots easy

NO SCOOP: Keep your wrists firm. This chip from the Match Play actually went in.

NO SCOOP: Keep your wrists firm. This chip from the Match Play actually went in.

Two of the main chipping problems I see with my amateur partners are trying to scoop the ball into the air and making too long a backswing. It's a good bet that neither will lead to a decent shot.

Several factors are involved in scooping, but it often can be traced to excessive wrist action. To eliminate active wrists, just firm them up. Without putting a death grip on the club, lock your wrists in their address angles so they don't break down through impact.

Playing the ball too far forward and setting too much weight on the back foot also contributes to scooping. I like to play the ball back in my stance on standard chips, with most of my weight on my left side. That helps promote a descending blow. Then all I have to do is trust the club's loft to get the ball in the air and carry it the right distance.

As for the backswing, keep it short, unless you're blessed with the touch of Freddie Couples or John Daly. When your swing is too long, the tendency is to decelerate the club and lose your spine angle. So keep the swing compact back and through. You'll hit crisp chips with great distance control.



ASK TIGER

Foundation Update

Q: Are you planning to expand the Tiger Woods Learning Center to other locations?

--Patty Finkbeiner / Philadelphia

A: The center in Orange County, Calif., is doing great, and we hope to find and announce a site in Washington, D.C., later this year. We've also discussed building something abroad -- probably in Asia, because my mom is from Thailand. We're interested in Africa, too. There are so many kids worldwide who need help. Our goal is to reach as many as we can and to have an impact overseas.

Growth Chart

Q: How is your daughter doing?

--Hal Stapleton / Portage, Mich.

A: Sam is doing great. She's walking, and moving around the house, which means we have to keep a close eye on her. She's learning so much and understands a lot of what Elin and I tell her, and that's exciting. People had always told me it just keeps getting better and better, and they were absolutely right.

Tuned Out

Q: Do you watch golf on television?

--Dustin Murphy / Broomfield, Colo.

A: Honestly? Not much. I made a pact with myself a long time ago that I wouldn't watch unless my close friends were in contention. That way, I can give myself a little time away from the game.

Tiger Woods writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest. Ask Tiger a question.

Mark Soltau is a contributing editor to Golf Digest and the editor of TigerWoods.com.