Your Short Game Practice Sessions Need An Upgrade
Haphazardly chipping around the practice green isn't going to do a lot for your game, and it's pretty boring. In order to give you a little inspiration for the next time you want to get some wedge practice in, we asked three of our Golf Digest Best Young Teachers to tell us their favorite short game drills.
The One-Legged Chip
Erika Larkin, Director of Instruction at The Club at Creighton Farms in Aldie, Virginia
A lot of golfers shift their weight around too much when they’re chipping, says Larkin. If you’re moving around a lot, you’re not going to make good, consistent contact. The result: bad chips. Larkin’s favorite chipping drill, the one-legged chip, fixes that problem.
“Take a narrow stance and put most of your weight on your front foot. Let the toe of your rear foot rest on the ground. Hit some shots from this position, and you’ll see some immediate improvement in contact and consistency."
The 15 Chips Game
Luke Benoit, Director of Instruction at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minnesota
This drill is all about consistency. Benoit says to grab five balls out of your bag, and find a shot around the practice green that you think is easy.
"Hit all five balls at the target," says Benoit. "Give yourself a point for each ball get it within two club-lengths." After you've hit those five, move on to a chip that is medium difficulty. Hit five balls from here. Finally, move on to a chip shot that is hard and hit five balls from this spot.
"See how many you were able to get within two club lengths. If you score more than eight out of 15, then you've graduated to pro level -- which means next time you have to get them within one club-length!"
The Setup Drill
James Kinney, Owner and Director of Instruction at GolfTec Omaha, NE
Kinney says the only way you’re going to have good distance control on your chips is if you’re making solid contact. Your setup can have a huge effect on this.
“Start with your feet together and the ball in the center of your stance,” says Kinney. “Take a width of stance equal to two club heads apart, pointing your back foot straight forward and front foot at a 11 o’clock position.” Hold your club out and turn your sternum to 11 o’clock. Put your clubhead straight down (it’ll be in front of golf ball). The spot where the club touches the ground shows you the low point of your swing. If the club is bottoming out right after the ball, you're hitting down on it instead of making the classic mistake of trying to lift the ball up.
“Leave your body as it is,” says Kinney, “and move the clubhead behind the ball like a normal address position and take your shot.”
What you’ve done with this drill is put your body in a slightly open position and defined the lowest point of the swing. By doing this, you’re ruling out the chances of catching it thin or chunking it. Instead of hitting those ugly shots, doing this little drill before your chips during practice will put you in the position you need to be in to get that nice high, soft flight you want in a chip.
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