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 cant
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
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 havent 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.