Lower Golf Scores

A better short game
can lower your golf score


(May 2008)  
Dale Crafton

I am often asked, "What can I do to improve my golf score?" My recommendation is to spend more time practicing your "short game.”
One area of the short game that can be practiced effectively is the chip shot. A chip shot is a shot that is made just off the green when you can’t effectively putt. However, my first piece of advice is, anytime you can putt when you are close to the green, PUTT.
When the lie of the ball does not allow a putt, then the chip shot is the correct shot. The analogy of “hitting a chip shot” with the same stroke as making a putt is sound logic.
The set up of the body for a chip is played “body-centered.” The ball is played in the middle of the stance. Pre-set the weight of one foot favoring the forward foot (left foot for a right handed player) and strike the ball with the hands forward of the ball, with a slightly descending stroke.
The most common fault I see when hitting this shot is the excessive use of the wrists. Keep the wrists firm and hit the shot using the “big muscles” primarily the shoulders.
The club varies widely from a less lofted club, like a 3-iron, to a very lofted club, like a lob wedge. Experiment with the club or clubs that are most comfortable for you. A good “rule of thumb” if you have a lot of green between the ball and the hole use a less lofted club, like a 7 or 8 iron.
If the hole is close to the edge of the green, use a more lofted club like a wedge or sand wedge.
One final bit of information that should be very helpful in selecting the correct club has to do with a recent ruling by the USGA (the people who give the rules of golf). A “chipper” can be used around the green effective Jan. 1, 2008. A chipper is a club that has a similar look to a putter with more loft. If you haven’t tried it, I strongly recommend you “give it a shot.”
If you are interested in trying a chipper, see either me or Scott at Cozy Acres Golf Complex. Callaway has introduced the new chipper called an Odyssey Marksman. I recommend you try a chipper to improve your chipping and lower your score.

• Dale Crafton is the owner and instructor at Cozy Acres Golf Complex, 4040 Old State Rd. 62, Madison, Ind. Call him at (812) 273-3137.


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