lesson teeFebruary 26, 2014

Rule No. 1 In Chipping

You'll never mis-hit the ball again

The left arm controls the chipping stroke, both back and through. If you're struggling to hit crisp chips that track toward the hole, work on this basic principle. Let the left hand and arm start the backswing together as a unit, with a slight hinging of the wrists. Then, on the downswing, make sure the left arm leads the clubhead into the ball. You can see here that even after the strike, my left arm and hand have stayed in alignment. It's as if I backhanded the ball toward the hole. Focus on your left arm, and you won't hit those fat or thin shots that result from flipping at the ball with your wrists.

ELEMENTARY WATSON

I remind myself of two key moves when I'm chipping: (1) Keep my head still by looking at a dimple on the back of the ball; (2) Hit that dimple with the center of the clubface. I think of the chipping stroke as merely brushing the grass with the club. Sole the clubhead lightly away from the ball and make little swings to get that feeling. Then when the ball is there, just sweep it away.

*Tom Watson, a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team, is on Twitter @TomWatsonPGA

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