One of the most overlooked components of a golfer’s overall game is the short game. Big drives draw attention and clutch putting can pull you out of a jam faster than you got into it. Chipping, however, remains an art form that few golfers take the time to perfect. Greens in regulation is one of the biggest separators of professional and amateur golfers. A golfer who typically shoots in the high 80’s or low 90’s will hit an average of two or three greens in regulation per round while a golfer who shoots 75 on average will hit 10 greens per round. One of the easiest ways for amateur golfers to lower schools and account for the large number of missed greens is to improve their chipping and increase their number of up and downs. Today, we’ll look at a few quick chipping drills to get you dialed in with a focus on drills that can be done in limited space.
Perhaps the simplest and most entertaining home chipping drill is the coin drill. Using a hitting mat or on carpet, focus on making clean, lofted contact with coins using a wedge. This drill may sound a bit childish, but it improves your wedge control and accuracy and helps you stay through the shot. Often a mug or hat is used for a target and can be a great game for families.
Coins are great but there is no substitute for hitting a real ball. If your course is still open, or if you have some yard space, set up a three-foot ring with string or whatever you can find, and work on chipping inside the ring from different distances. Place three to five balls down and work from one distance until you make all the balls inside the circle and move back five yards. Consistently landing chip shots within three feet will dramatically increase your one-putts.
Bring Your Entire Bag
One common trait of a successful short game is feel. Being able to control shots and adjust your swing to the circumstances is one thing most amateurs struggle with consistently. To improve feel, try chipping to the same target with each club in your bag. Start with your highest lofted wedge and hit three to five shots with each club all the way up to your driver. A lot of pros and teachers advise using irons and sometimes hybrids around the greens for specific shots, so you’ll be improving feel and your shot selection with one drill.
Golf is about muscle memory and repetition and these drills are no different. Just getting out with your wedges and hitting shots at a target is the single best way to improve your chipping. Launching drives on the range and working on putting may take more of the spotlight, but considering how many missed greens amateurs rack up, chipping might be the ticket to lowering your scores.
About the Author: Brian Neufeld
Brian Neufeld’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in golf course management, specializing in agronomy. Brian uses his knowledge of the game and best practices in turf sustention to create informative pieces for GolfTourney.com’s readers.