Chipping will always be a struggle if you can't make consistent contact with the ball before your club hits the ground. Two common mistakes are usually working together to make this shot harder than it has to be. If you set up for a chip with your weight hanging back—or you shift it there and leave it during the swing—you're moving the bottom of your swing arc behind the ball. When the club bottoms out so early, it promotes another bad habit: Your reflex is to scoop at the ball to keep the club from hitting the ground and to help the shot into the air.
A small adjustment in your setup and a visual aid will help you groove the descending contact you need for good chip shots. Drape your towel on the ground about three inches behind your ball. Set up in your chipping stance, and make sure you keep your weight favoring your front foot throughout the swing. Hit some short practice chips, making sure to avoid hitting the towel. The easiest way to do it is to keep your weight forward and make a small body turn through the ball. You'll see that your hands stay quiet and the club provides plenty of loft to hit the shot you want.
ERIKA LARKIN a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, is based out of Stonewall G.C., in Gainesville, Va.