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A Question for Good Players Who Have Had the Yips

 WRX8802 ·  
WRX8802WRX8802 Members  15WRX Points: 19Posts: 15 Bunkers
Joined:  edited Jun 30, 2020 4:46pm in Instruction & Academy #1

I stopped playing after college and am starting to get back into it. I am a +3 with an OK short game. Over the last year I have developed a yip in my putting stroke. It was a huge mental block, but I have managed to control it with a claw grip and religious pre-shot routine. The yips have now seeped into my short game. Interestingly, the yip in my putting stroke was a constant fanning open of the face at impact, and the yip in my chipping/pitching is the same. I have spoken with a few good players who have managed the putting yips--I say "managed" because I do not think you can "cure" them--but I have never spoken with a good player who had chipping yips and got control of them. Does anyone have advice? If Big Cat is reading this, help me out....

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  • Keen2bDumbKeen2bDumb Members  65WRX Points: 36Handicap: Below scratch, don't have official ratingPosts: 65 Bunkers
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    The yips were an issue in my putting game.

    I figured it's almost always technical, and not mental.

    If you fan open your putter, you bought into straight-back-straight-through, which is complete nonsense.

    I learned to take a reverse overlap grip, and roll the ball with overspin using my right hand. Cured.

    The putter will arc. It can't do anything else, given the club sits at an angle.

    Take any grip that eliminates the lead hand, and hit up on the ball 2 degrees. No more, but no less.

    Chipping is done using wrist action. Your chipping is just ok because you sweep the ball, and come in too shallow. The wrists work straight up with no dragging of the arms. It's ball first contact, and using a shallow action doesn't allow for this. It needs to be aggressive, and sharp. No hybrid action either, just hands working up and down.

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  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3254WRX Points: 189Posts: 3,254 Titanium Tees
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    I work everyday with golfers who struggle with the yips, from golfers from all over the world. It is simply a myth that there is "no cure".

    My program has a very high success rate, including with golfers with severe intensity yips (think worse than Charles Barkley).

    Although poor mechanics leading to a lot of really bad shots is one of the root causes for how the yip impulse takes root in your subconscious mind, once it has taken hold, it is 100% mental/emotional in nature.

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  • peepeepeepee Members  105WRX Points: 50Handicap: 9Posts: 105 Fairways
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    Agree with Jim. Bad technique gave me the yips. Became mental emotional then. The brain hardwires after a while. But you can retrain it.

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  • ObeeObee ClubWRX  4345WRX Points: 1,289Handicap: +1Posts: 4,345 ClubWRX
    Joined:  edited Jul 1, 2020 4:47am #5

    You can definitely cure them. I had them bad for 5+ years. They're gone. Was a +1.5 to +3.6 from all through my 30's and into my early 40's. Now I'm a 52 year old, short-hitting (240 - 250) +1 when my back cooperates.

    Yip have been completely gone for 3+ years. Happy to help. Waldron is amazing, too.

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  • PetethreeputPetethreeput Members  1674WRX Points: 419Handicap: 1.5Posts: 1,674 Platinum Tees
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    Not sure I qualify as a good player, but I have had them for the last 3-4 years, and i am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am sure Jim has an excellent program to help with them, i did not participate in it, i simply dug it out on the chipping green. I agree, the root cause is a technique issue which then becomes a well ingrained mental issue. If you are able to self-evaluate I think you might be able to nip it in the bud. By the middle of this, i was whiffing and just praying to get on the green. My hdcp ballooned to a 7, and it impacted every aspect of my game. Clearly, i was a headcase, and many would say I AM a headcase still, but at least it isnt about my chipping.

    For me, the shorter backswing and acceleration created a jabbing motion at the ball, which manifested itself in either an overactive right hand or no wrist or feel which was the blade. So, i had it all. Onlookers would indicate my problem was either my left hand, right hand, head moving, swaying, too close to the ball, too far, the ball too far forward, too far back, too... So to fix it, i was advised to swing one handed, close my eyes, etc for the mental part, and then the physical part was to fix whatever it was my keen eyed observers noted was wrong. None of them were pros, generally they were other "yippers" who were doing exactly what i was doing, trying to fix it and this is what they had been told.

    A friend of mine, whose son played on the PGA tour in the 80's noted my issues. He said during a PGA practice round with his son's friends (PGA players) he was having the issue as well. He never presented anything like the cure for anything, but he casually mentioned, "when i had the issue I was able to help myself along by changing my grip on the practice green." Grip the club naturally with the left hand (i am righty), and then instead of a regular grip with the right hand, run the grip between the index and middle finger opposed to the index and thumb. I can't say it is comfortable, but it does illustrate the swing and the feel. Sometimes now if i have a dicey chip i will take my practice swings with this grip to get a sense of it.

    The end result was for a year and a half or so, around the chipping green I could make the ball dance. On the course I could make the ball cry. It took a while to get through the mental block, probably because I cared where the ball went. If it didn't go where i wanted, it generally cost me money. Anyway, in the last 6 weeks i have dropped from a 3.8 to a 1.5, and i can say without doubt it is because i am getting up and down more often.

    I wish you luck, and hopefully you don't go down the rabbit hole as far as i did, but the grip change on the practice area may help you get back to the feel you remember.

    Posted:
  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3254WRX Points: 189Posts: 3,254 Titanium Tees
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    I am seeing more and more new students with short game yips, if present trend continues, it will surpass full swing yips as the number one type of yips, in my practice.

    In general, short game yips golfers have worse mechanics in their short game than in their full swing.

    I have worked with tour pros whose short game mechanics were overall not very good , compared to their long game mechanics - but they are able to compensate most of the time for those poor mechanics. Until stress/pressure of tournament golf triggers the Yip Impulse.

    A lot of that has to do with the prevailing view that short game stroke is just a smaller version of full swing - in my experience, that is a recipe for disaster.

    Good short game technique uses different,: Tempo, Rhythm, release pattern, amount of wrist cock, grip pressure variations, shaft lean variations - its just NOT the same as a full swing but smaller.

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  • CMCSGolfCMCSGolf Members  653WRX Points: 167Posts: 653 Golden Tee
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    I went to see Jim in 2018 when I had light chipping yips. The yip wasn't super visible and jerky, but I hit a ton of fat and thin shots, which obviously destroyed my confidence. It was frustrating because I used to have a really solid short game and then it went south. I was playing away from wedge shots, which pushed my confidence even lower. The only short game shots I was confident in were flops with a lot of speed. I was about a 1-2 handicap then and now I'm about a 0 to +1.

    I was virtually certain I had a technique issue because I was still capable of hitting a lot of good shots. I spent a half day with Jim and it was extremely beneficial. I didn't go through his entire process (mostly because I didn't believe my yips were bad enough, which appears to have been true). Jim fixed some small things in my set up and we talked about tempo. This was really key for me. Then I practiced a lot. All I do is think about tempo and my landing spot and I hit my chips very solid now. Chipping is legitimately a strength of my game now. A new golf buddy who is ~5 handicap said I have the best short game he has ever seen. That's definitely hyperbole, but I'm pretty confident I can get up and down from anywhere now. It's also help up fairly well under tournament pressure. I shot 72-72 last year in an event and hit 13 and 11 greens respectively.

    I still hit bad shots, but I can feel the bad tempo that caused it every time. I know that if I keep that feel, it will be a good shot. That's pretty close to a cure for me.

    Posted:
  • Soloman1Soloman1 Members  2964WRX Points: 985Posts: 2,964 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Jul 1, 2020 9:30pm #9


    Posted:
    Post edited by Soloman1 on
    I'm quitting at 6.022 x 10^23 posts.
    Avogadro would be proud.
  • peepeepeepee Members  105WRX Points: 50Handicap: 9Posts: 105 Fairways
    Joined:  #10

    Just to reiterate what CMCSGolf.

    Tempo was at the centre of ridding myself of the dreaded Y. Focus only on tempo and the result becomes irrelevant. I count on every putt. Back on 5 thru on 6.

    Posted:
  • extrastiffextrastiff Members  1376WRX Points: 271Posts: 1,376 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Jul 2, 2020 10:26am #11

    Tempo. Slow down probably. Transition from backswing to downswing need to be super clean for chipping. I also got a tip a few weeks ago that I was standing to close, and it was forcing an over the top move as well as a bit of standing up to compensate, leading to the occasional terrible shot .since I backed up and focused on maintaining spine angle throughout the swing, no problems

    +2 right now

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  • Keen2bDumbKeen2bDumb Members  65WRX Points: 36Handicap: Below scratch, don't have official ratingPosts: 65 Bunkers
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    I think the putting-type action destroys any good short game. Usually, when someone says the full swing is similar, they're talking about ball-first contact, not swing patterns. I've known players to get by on shallowness, but that's about all they did. To be fair, playing well enough on my own to consider myself a great player, it's obvious people just accept any technique as factual, and knowing the difference, I naturally veered from those things, having experimented with all of them. The issue lies in the concept, and given the average player lifts the ball, it's a matter of getting their heads right, so that they understand why certain techniques work and others don't.

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  • haroleaseharolease Members  658WRX Points: 86Posts: 658 Golden Tee
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    I had putting and chipping yips and one thing that helped me was to close my eyes

    sometimes there is too much visual stimulation and you have to trust your read and leave the visual in your minds eye. This is particularly important on a fast putt/chip that breaks away very much. just leave it to the Golfing Gods and trust you started your intended line

    Posted:
  • ObeeObee ClubWRX  4345WRX Points: 1,289Handicap: +1Posts: 4,345 ClubWRX
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    Jim,

    James Sieckmann would totally agree with you. Sequencing is different, also, for a majority of tour players. I initially did not agree with him, but he made a believer out of me.

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  • McgeenoMcgeeno Members  2248WRX Points: 334Handicap: 1.9Posts: 2,248 Platinum Tees
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    I made it through from a tourney tested scratch golfer to a full blown chipping yips 5 handicap and now back to a 1.2 cap and trending down. Its possible.


    I did it differently than most here though and in a somewhat controversial cop out I used a chipper to get me through the hard times. Phased in a few chips here and there in casual rounds. After a year or two I was back to normal.


    I have told my yip story before and lots of good golfers make excuses or reasons for their issues.Plenty of guys dont want to admit it. I remember the exact moment I realized I had the yips. Pounded a drive, put a wedge just on the fringe to a front pin. In the hunt in a local tournament. Had a 15 foot chip or so that a good player would be trying to make. A little tuft of grass in front of me I couldnt putt through. I stabbed it over the green by ten yards and realized this isnt a technique issue or a minor problem.


    100 percent between the ears for me. I couldnt get comfortable. Didnt like any lie. Had confidence issues and technique problems. Totally braindead around the greens. I ended up realizing I was usually putting balls from 10 yards off the green to hide it...

    Posted:
  • soonernicksoonernick Members  68WRX Points: 63Handicap: 2.6Posts: 68 Bunkers
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    Would be curious to hear your insight on how you got through. I am similar in that I was a 2 a little over a year ago and I'm now a 7 and going the wrong direction. Early on I would have a couple of chunked chips or pitches per round, but my ball striking and putting was at a point that it wasn't uncommon for me to shoot 5-over with two doubles. Now it's leaked into the rest of my game to the point that if I miss a fairway or green I'm basically trying to make sure to bogey. That just puts too much pressure on every shot.... I've broken 80 just once in the last 12-15 rounds (79 with a triple and a double). The game just isn't as fun when you've proven you're capable of being pretty decent but now you're grinding on the back 9 to make sure you don't shoot a 90.

    I've done lessons, watched every video available on the internet. I get that there are some mechanical issues, but they've become a moving target as it is a different issue every time someone looks at it... at this stage it's obvious that I've watched too many vids and practiced the issue so much it's become mental as well (legit thousands of pitches/chips, I set up a full blown learning center at home so I can do my nightly routine of hitting 20 of my first 25 pitches fat/thin, then getting into a good tempo flow and hitting 48/50 clean pitches/chips and going to bed thinking I've cured my problem).

    Anyway, I'm going to Branson tomorrow for a week and will probably play 5-6 rounds, so if you could tell me the cure and fix all my problems that would be great! 😂

    Posted:
  • BogeyBrianBogeyBrian Members  114WRX Points: 31Handicap: 4Posts: 114 Fairways
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    this thread is great and is making me feel a little less bad about double hitting 2 chips the last month. I have had the chipping yips for 2 years and it is demoralizing.

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  • ObeeObee ClubWRX  4345WRX Points: 1,289Handicap: +1Posts: 4,345 ClubWRX
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    If you have pitching yips, I highly recommend the FLYT Sleeve thingy. Bought one for my wife, and tried it out myself. The thing is the real deal. Teaches a "Jason Day/Steve Stricker-Type" move, which I already use. As Waldron said regarding pitching yips: The genesis of the pitching yips for many players is, indeed, poor (or at least, very one-dimensional) technique -- too much shaft lean, bad ball position, etc.

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  • 596596 Lakeland, FLMembers  3898WRX Points: 390Posts: 3,898 Titanium Tees
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    I've had the yips for the better part of 2 years. Mine was traced back to a pill I was taking that I no longer take. My chipping and putting were excellent until one day about 2 weeks into a new med, I missed the ball with my putter. It went from putting yips to chipping yips. It's taken nearly 2 years to get back to any kind of confidence. What helped me a lot was initially changing to a claw grip when putting and chipping. This helped with tempo too. I still putt with a claw but have transitioned back to a regular grip when chipping. I still practice sometimes with a claw grip. It was very hard to go from a good practice session to doing it on the course when it counted. I could hit 10 terrible shots to start a practice session then fall into a rythmn and hit 40 nice ones in a row. I'm still working on getting those initial practice shots as good as the rest of the bucket.

    Posted:
  • Jim WaldronJim Waldron Balance Point Golf Schools Sponsors  3254WRX Points: 189Posts: 3,254 Titanium Tees
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    Yes, the belief that the short game shots are just "smaller" versions of full swing is one of the primary reasons in the explosion of short game yips cases.

    In the past 10 days alone six new students with short game yips have consulted with me.

    The forward swing sequence is totally different, wrist mechanics is totally different on chips and short pitches, pivot is totally different with chipping, and tempo/rhythm also completely different. Grip pressure can also vary a lot depending on the short game shot.

    Shaft lean at impact also varies from none on a flop shot to a lot on a low spinning wedge.

    Posted:
  • McgeenoMcgeeno Members  2248WRX Points: 334Handicap: 1.9Posts: 2,248 Platinum Tees
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    I bet most our strategy was similar other than me continuing to play tournaments and just buying a niblick chipper to get through the "rough patch". I dont try to preach that often but I wasnt gonna quit tournament golf or interclub matches and had to figure it out.


    As far as fixing the yips went: I watched and researched as much as I could about the mental side like many do here. I looked at is as me trying to remove variables and ideas that were not the cause. Like "OK I'm not doing that when I am chipping"


    I took a lesson on chipping from my coach. He made sure the form and technique was at least solid and repeatable. Gave me some drills to work on, some visualizations to use. He got me to use the bounce more which immediately helped make the bad "yippy" chips more manageable. I use less wrist hing and more of the new style chipping you find online. That technique helped simplify things for me over time.


    I continued to use a chipper in tournaments for a full season or more. (I'm not ashamed to admit it haha). I would practice a few hours a week with regular chipping clubs. All sorts of lies and shots. Over time I would phase in a couple of easy chips during rounds with buddies or the wife with no pressure. Slowly it went from casual rounds to a Mens night round to an interclub round. After probably a full season I was really only using the chipper to hit punch outs from the woods. Now the chipper sits in my office as a reminder of the struggle haha. Essentially I had just grinded and worked my way through it with confidence and technique work.


    One thing I do though that is different from the "old Mcgeeno" is that I get the ball rolling like a putt much quicker. I will use a 8 iron or 9 iron on easy chips instead of lofting it up and hitting a higher risk shot. It just is what it is now. Once you come from full blown jabbing easy chips you find the path of least resistance haha.

    Posted:
  • b.mattayb.mattay New WRX'er Members  689WRX Points: 155Handicap: +2Posts: 689 Golden Tee
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    I am not an instructor but IMO, most short game problems or yips stem from having a low point that is too low (aka a significant amount below the ball). I think that raising the low point can be really beneficial for good turf interaction and continuing the pivot through impact. Look up James Ridyard stuff or the Scott Cowx "nick the stick" drill.

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  • pinsuckerpinsucker Jr. Boomers  77WRX Points: 55Posts: 77 Fairways
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    Never had the putting yips, but the chipping yips made me quit golf. It was so bad that I knew that I was making bogey or worse if I missed the green. For me the root cause was a technical issue, I was a hinge and hold kind of guy that nips the ball with a lot of leading edge and downward blow and I started chunking every thing one day. I just couldn’t get over it, I was either chunking or blading every chip or even a couple shanks. The fix for me when I decided I wanted to play again, was a complete reset of the way I think about chips, I now subscribe to use the bounce and sweep the ball with passive hands, and use a lower lofted club to get lower shots. Once I convinced myself this would sort my issues out and that I believed in the method, I then chipped in my carpeted living room without a target just focusing on technique and strike every day multiple times a day (during lockdown) for a month. I then started incorporating a small coin as a landing spot. I do this most days. Now that I have played a few rounds again, I still have enormous fear of it happening but my technique just prevents it now and I am often surprised I get a good chip when I was fully expecting a chunk. My confidence is shooting through the roof and I chipped in for the first time in 7 years. I am actually looking forward to attempting the up and down when I miss the green and I don’t have to layup on par fives anymore in fear of missing the green and having to chip.

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