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Figure 1.
WRONG: Trying to "scoop" the ball.

Figure 2.
WRONG: Trying to sweep under the ball and "throw" it skyward.

Figure 3.
CORRECT: Striking "down" through the ball will pop it into the air with backspin while taking a divot out in front.



by: David Leadbetter

In order to achieve pinpoint accuracy with your chip shots, work on making your swing plane more upright. As you turn and move the club away from the ball, allow your wrists to hinge up (don't just simply lift your arms). Sense that the shaft moves fairly vertically, both on the way back and on the way through.

With practice, you should feel that the club is much more on line approaching impact as your body turns through the shot. Work on achieving a solid ball-turf contact, and aim to make your follow-through a virtual mirror-image of your backswing position. Think about a smooth rhythm, too. That's important on pitch shots.

To ensure you get your pitch swing on the right plane, try this drill. Set up for a normal pitch shot then stick an umbrella (or an old shaft) in the ground about two feet outside your right foot, in line with your right heel (1).

Place another one the same distance outside your left foot, again keeping it in line with your heel. Then swing the club without touching either of the two umbrellas (2, 3).

As you swing back, hinge your wrists and try to set the club on its end so that the grip points down towards the ground. Do the same in the follow-through.

Once you have the knack of this, hit a few shots. Don't concern yourself with a particular target initially, simply work on hitting the ball solidly. Pretty soon you'll notice a big difference in the quality of your strike, and you can then focus on direction and distance.

Figure � 4 :
The chipping motion should be straight-back, straight-through, just like a putting stroke. Too many amateurs make a full swing in miniature in that they take the club back to the inside and then bring it to the ball on an inside-to-square path, then allowing the clubhead to cross back to the inside after impact. This type of motion simply doesn't give you the accuracy and precision you need when chipping. To develop a straight-back, straight-through chipping motion, lay two clubs down on the ground parallel to one another just off the practice green, pointed at a hole about 15 or 20 feet away. The clubs should be just slightly more than a clubhead's width apart. Place a ball on the ground between the two clubs, take your best chipping posture and chip the ball toward the target, making sure that the clubhead stays between the two clubs going back and through; your clubhead should extend straight down the target line after impact and not cross over the clubs to the inside.

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