The Short Chip in Golf, and How to Find The Hole

by Scott McCormick on November 6, 2013

 

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting up around the green in golf and not being able to close the deal. It hurts. It stings. You hit a great drive and an even better approach shot, before then throwing it all away with an errant chip and questionable three putt. Not fun!

The comforting news is that it happens to the best of us. There are also specific ways to develop your golf performance, especially when focus is put on the short chip shot. The short chip is unique because it demands a level of finesse that not many other shots do. This inherently makes it a difficult shot, but the reality is that it’s imperative to get it right if you want to find any consistent success on the links.

Golf is mental and physical. Thus, the chip shot requires adequate technique and steady mindset. Whether you’re touring the Lone Star State for some Dallas golf, or simply visiting the local 9-hole course in your area, conquering this near-the-green shot can make or break many holes.

Some tips are listed below that will help you hit that pin of greatness.

 

Take your time

                With any shot in golf, it’s wise to take your time. With a short chip shot, patience is crucial. When you’ve managed to get the ball next to the green, the first goal is to chip it in. If you don’t succeed with that one, you want to achieve the second goal of one-putting it in. You need to put it close. This isn’t a walk in the park for most golfers, but it can be if you take your time and put the stroke in perspective.

Basic: Everything is harder when you’re rushed. Golf is no exception to the rule. Particularly when you’re hitting a short chip, where the goal is to get up and down quickly, patience is vital. Oftentimes people will get excited and hit the ball too hard, sending it over the green. Others won’t put enough on it and fail to give themselves a chance. Find that happy medium in-between the two. You need to take your time to find it, though.

 

Keep your backswing low and short

                You want to do your best to avoid “chopping” at the ball in the short chip scenario. You don’t need a full backswing, but you do need to follow through in order to give your ball the proper trajectory. Do your best to understand that you don’t need to lift the ball up, but rather strike it more like a putt. Even with this type of swing, the design of your club face will give the ball the loft it needs to get up and down quickly. Depending on pin location, the precision and immediacy of your “up and down” will be adjusted. If it’s further away, you have more margin for error.

Basic: Regardless of where the pin is, don’t go with a full backswing. When you make contact with the ball, follow through. In a short chip situation, many golfers feel that chopping at the ball will help them avoid overshooting the target. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Be short. Be simple. Follow through.

 

Own that pin

                Golf requires such exactness that players often hesitate on shots. The short chip is a classic one because it’s easy to lay up and not go for the pin. The fact is that the ball isn’t going in the hole if you don’t give it a chance to do so. Executing this mindset means owning the pin and giving yourself a chance. Aside from the obvious exceptions, the short chip shot should have enough power to reach pin distance. If you go a bit far, or a bit to the left or right, it’s better than being short.

Basic: It’s advantageous to give yourself a chance on the short chip. The act of only trying to get it close enough to make the next putt isn’t sufficient if you really want to see progress in your game. Own that pin and you’ll start to own your golf game.

 

Each and every shot in golf requires perseverance, routine practice and a little bit of luck. The short chip is definitely one of them.

 

How will you approach it next time?

 

Scott McCormick

Scott McCormick writes about Fort Worth golf courses and other places to play near Dallas.

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