You Tried It: Think 1-2-3 for consistent chips

December 21, 2011

*On Wednesdays at the Instruction Blog, we often turn to our readers for the best tips they ever received. **Please submit your favorite tip to This week we hear from Scott Morgan on better chipping:

*"I'm fairly average around the greens, but a golf buddy of mine always struggled. He could never stay in rhythm from his practice swings to the real shot and frequently either skulled the shot across the green or flubbed it three feet with an abbreviated, jabby stroke.

"After a long summer watching these mis-hits, I finally offered some unsolicited advice: Slowly count to yourself on both the practice swing and the actual chip. Say 1-2-3 in your head, starting the swing on 1 and making contact on 3. He found better rhythm, better contact, and better results. And he was rather annoyed I hadn't said something sooner."

Thanks for the tip, Scott. So many times, good rhythm back and through will make up for poor technique, not only in the short game but also in the full swing. A wise pro once told me: "No matter how great your mechanics are, you'll still hit bad shots occassionally if you don't have good tempo. But smooth tempo can often take care of faults in your swing."

A number of great players had swing flaws, but managed to have incredible careers because they swung the club rhythmically. In fact, the smooth tempo masked their flaws, and they even had reputations for having great swings. Some prominent players who come to mind include Sam Snead (backswing was inside his downswing); Jerry Pate (closed clubface going back and at the top); Payne Stewart (club well past parallel at the top); Nancy Lopez (manipulative wrist cock and closed clubface on the takeaway); Julius Boros (significant re-routing of the club--outside going back, inside coming down); Larry Nelson (club pointing well across the line at the top). All of these players had wonderful tempo and won major championships.

*Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest