I made a huge observation chipping the other day that will make better chippers of all of you. First a LINK to the post I did on chipping, read it, watch it, then I will stress something that was more important than I realized.
First off, I have what I call the “Vacuum Cleaner” feel. That means I might as well be chipping with a vacuum cleaner as my LW for how bad my feel is. I am glad I only have a 1 day tournament (US Open Qualifying in 2 weeks) coming in the near future as I will have to hit 18 greens in regulation and/or make 10 footers every hole, unless my feel improves soon.
My issues with mediocre chipping aside, I witnessed the main thing that causes bad chipping. While I was struggling with my bad feel, I noticed I could still whiff the ball up there around the hole even when I didn’t hit it crisply. I watched the seven other golfers on the chipping green and noticed they were lucky to get one out of ten in a range where you would consider it makeable.
Why was this? I know at least two of these golfers are at the course every day. Why is chipping in most golfers so bad. As the post and video I linked above stated, there are usually some setup and perception issues, but I wasn’t clear enough on the BIG one.
Bad chippers don’t do something I always did naturally without thinking and it’s what allowed me to get the ball around the hole even with horrible feel. Bad chippers don’t keep their shoulders rotating through and past impact. They “hit” at the ball. As a matter of fact, most of them looked like they stopped their shoulder turn on purpose it was so bad.
Watch Tiger. He may be a bad husband but he is the best short gamer I have seen. He looks like he almost has too much shoulder rotation past the ball. Not a coincidence and it is a major reason why he is so good.
This is also why my swing is out of sync and my chipping is not as good as it once was. I stopped just making a shoulder turn and started to try and manufacture “correct positions” and that made my shoulder turn stall at times and get out of sync with the rest of my body.
I hit wedges the next day…it’s too much arms and hands right now…relative to what it should be for a world class golfer. In fast motion it doesn’t look terrible, but it didn’t feel good. My lower body is stagnant because my shoulder turn isn’t in control as much as it should be.
This is a lot of introspection about my own feels, but it boils down to something I have said a lot and my students are probably sick of hearing. Put the control in the shoulder turn. Doesn’t matter if it’s a 20 foot chip or a 350 yard drive. That is where maximum efficiency lies. My shoulder turn is a bit choppy and isn’t as continuous as I would like it to be.
That is what I am going to work on today…and hope my lower body starts to link up with it better. If those things happen, my hands and arms won’t have such an easy time of getting me out of position. When I accomplish this, the club will release naturally and I will be a good golfer. Until that happens, I will be fun to watch at the driving range, but not yet ready for network television at 3 PM on Sunday. Actually, not even ready for 2 AM on The Golf Channel.