By Pam LeBLanc, LPGA Teaching Professional
Playing situations often demand a less than full swing. As you get closer to the green, better direction and distance control are the primary goal. To accomplish this, one should feel a more compact controlled action through the upper body while maintaining greater stability in the lower body.
The whole posture in the body is lowered: the stance narrowed and is in an open position. The arms form an inverted triangle with the shoulders as the base. The triangle should move in a pendulum like action, yet the feel at the ball is crisp.
The hands are well down on the grip of the club. As distance requirements become greater the hands are moved up on the grip and the stance becomes slightly wider. The hands are slightly ahead of the ball at address and remain in this leading position throughout the stroke. The target hand leads the swing forward and is not passed by the rear hand. The clubface extends along the target line.
The ball is positioned in the stance from the middle to inside the back foot. The weight is more to the target side with approximately 70%, placed in this position. With your weight forward and the ball back your hands will also be forward and on the inside of your front thigh. These aspects promote the descending blow to create sold contact.
The length of the back and forward swing varies with the distance required, but the stroke itself is similar to that of putting. Positive acceleration to and through the ball is critical, using a tic-toc rhythm in the swing will help promote this shorter back/ longer through motion.
Becoming proficient around the greens depends largely on knowing how much carry and roll your shots produce with each club. I believe it is more advantageous to use one swing and vary the club. Learn to produce this same carry vs. roll every time and you’ll find it much easier to get the ball close to the pin consistently.
Consider my 2&3 method. Pick your basic landing spot (2 pace land on the green) and let each club create the roll (2 to 3 paces roll per club) depending on green condition.
• Sand wedge – 2 paces land & 3 paces run
• Pitching wedge – 2 paces land &6paces run
• 9 Iron – 2paces land & 9 paces run
• 7 Iron – 2 paces land & 14 paces run
Remember: The swing thought to execute the chip-n-run is: B- (ball back / stance open) L- (lean shaft forward) T-(tic-toc: through to target)
The Drill- The Flamingo drill is a good training method to perfect the B-L-T of chipping. Practice hitting shots with your back heel raised up and with only the toe touching the ground. This will help you to feel that your weight is on the front foot and you will be making a descending blow to a good follow through position.
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