Picture the scene: a nice second shot has left you around 15 yards from the green. There are no bunkers standing between you and the putting surface, so ideally you want to just chip the ball onto the green and then let it run up to the hole and leave a nice manageable putt. Which shot to choose? Well, the clue is in the aforementioned description. Yes, welcome to the wonderful world of the chip shot. And yes, I did say chip shot, not to be confused with those emporiums of deep fat fryers and tomato sauce that will add unwanted inches around the golfer's waist or get the blood pressure rising in prime-time television fitness instructors.
Right and Left at a Steady PaceThe chip shot is one of the most potent weapons of a player's short game. Get it right and you will leave yourself with an easy putting opportunity. Get it wrong and you can find yourself advancing only a few feet, or even running through the back of the green, and having to execute the stroke all over again, adding costly strokes to the score card.A valuable way to approach this type of shot is to imagine a metronome, or ticking pendulum. Think of the way that it moves right and left at a steady pace and at an equal distance from the centre point. Now step away from the line of the ball and swing your club in the same controlled way, the movement coming from the shoulders and arms while the wrists are kept steady. What you are aiming for is to send the ball at a low trajectory towards the green so it can then sidle its way towards the flag.
Club ChoiceIn terms of club choice, we're talking one of the middle to high irons because it is length of shot and not loft that is called for here. The correct technique used for chipping is to keep the weight on the front foot with the hands in front of the ball. It may be beneficial to move the hands down the handle of the club in order to shorten the swing and keep the club face close to the ground.
Coming to GriefAs you execute the swing, keep thinking about that metronome: the amount of backswing should be equal to the amount of follow through. So many players come to grief on chip shots because after making contact with the ball, they pull out of the swing by raising their head, causing the ball to travel too short or too long.
Weather conditions should also be taken into account. Dry conditions will mean the ball will run on much quicker when it lands, heavy rain will have the opposite effect, so the amount of swing is crucial in order to ensure that the ball comes to rest to your advantage. As with all individual golf strokes, chip shots require practice. Familiarising yourself with the technique will ensure you feel comfortable and, therefore, more likely to achieve that metronomic rhythm that will pay big dividends.