Recently in a small group coaching session I asked the question “what did they think was important in chipping?” The first thing that I noticed about their response was none of them considered the lie of the ball or the topography of the shot. The second thing was that all of the group related the same method for chipping. This method was as follows:-
Stance pointing very open (pointing left for a right handed golfer).
Weight on the front foot, at least 70%
Ball position opposite the back or trail foot.
Grip end of the club opposite left pocket meaning there is a lot of shaft lean.
Make sure you hit downwards.
Although most of the group used their most lofted club for this they also indicated they would use this method if they had a lower lofted club as well.
If you chip like this all the time and you are a great chipper then keep doing it. However I think for a lot of golfers this limits their short game and although this could be the method to deal with certain poor lies I would recommend golfers try a slightly different approach.
The basic difference is as follows:-
Stance comfortably squarer (this does not have to perfectly square).
I think weight distribution could favour the front foot but only a little.
For ordinary and good lies the ball position should be no further back than middle. However this may move forward or back depending on the lie and the shot you want to play.
The club will only lean very slightly towards the target for a basic shot but once again can be a moveable thing depending on the shot. (This means it could be leaning back away from the target on the occasional shot)
Once again if the lie is ok then we are looking to strike the ball more at the bottom of the swing arc. This is where the feeling of using the bounce or base of the club, brushing the turf rather than digging into the ground using the leading edge of the club. On occasion if the ball is sitting up and the shot dictates it then actually catching the ball slightly on an upswing is the intention. If the ball is sat down in a poor lie then a slight downward strike is probably going to be required but remember this will limit the control of the ball when it lands a little bit more.
Hopefully two main points come from this article
Don’t be stuck in one limiting method to allow yourself the second point.
Let the shot be dictated by the lie of the ball and the topography of the shot.