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Chipping distance control


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I have found that I use my 52* the most when chipping if I have green to work with. It gives me the closest 50/50 carry/roll out of my wedges. If I need to carry it further I typically go straight to my 60* despite also having a 56*.
 

The technique I’m using is ball slightly back and more of a putting stroke. I’m hitting it solid but I’m inconsistent on distance. I know o just need to log some hours in the practice area but wondering if anyone has any tips to expedite my practice? I typically pace out all my putts and adjust the length of my putting stroke accordingly. Thinking that could work for my 52* as well but wouldn’t the carry distance change (same length swing) based on club? I guess the other option is keeping the force and length of the stroke the same with all chips and seeing how far each club goes? Just trying to figure out what direction to go for consistency. I don’t strike every chip perfect yet…
 

Currently a 7HC and it’s been dropping fast but I know the next step is getting up and down much more often and I need a strategy/system on chips. I’ve tried the rule of 12 before but kinda prefer to stick to 1 or 2 clubs but open to anything. 

Edited by FormerBigDaddy
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You won't want to hear it but I'll say it. The best way to expedite developing short game feel and touch is to abandon all the numerical stuff and practice seeing the shot, taking one practice stroke, then hitting the shot. Repeat as many times on as many different shots as necessary. 

 

Trying to figure out in advance how far to take the club back and so forth is just absolutely destroying any natural ability you have to see the target and react with the proper swing. It is paralysis by analysis. 

 

If you're standing the fairway exactly 143 yards from the hole, you can play pretty decent golf by just pulling the closest club to that 143 yards and making a repeatable, stock swing like you've practiced on the driving range. Good players will involve a lot more feel and take more factors into account but for an amateur golfer just hitting stock iron shots is good enough. 

 

But around the greens, like putting, nothing is a "stock swing". There are too many variables involved and the need for precision is much greater. At some point you've got to develop some touch to play even decent golf. You can't program yourself to pace off 16 paces, take the club back 32 inches and land it with a 1:1 ratio of carry to roll, yada, yada, yada...

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From August 18, 2021 I will be away from GolfWRX for a while.

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You have to read lies correctly first to give you a chance of having consistent contact. From then you need lots of practice

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Practice from different lies, learn how the ball will react from different lies. Potentially mix in some different spins, play a mini draw to get the ball to release, more of a cut for a little more spin. Play with the face angle and ball position for different trajectories. I would look at picking a landing point if anything and get to where you can land it pretty close. Think about if you were to throw a ball a certain distance, you wouldn't think about how far your arm is going back, let yourself react more. Swing length is better saved for longer shots where it's harder to use that natural feel. I couldn't begin to tell you how far back I would take it for a 50 ft putt but I know I can pretty reliably get it close, it just takes practice to develop that more. 

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I pace off putts but I don't consciously adjust the stroke for it. I consider it feel but with more information. 

 

This is especially true because slope plays such a big factor on the green. An 8-pace putt can be a significant difference in effort uphill rather than downhill. 

 

So I see value in knowing distance rather than estimating visually. But I think that just helps you visualize the shot better because you'll have a better idea of both the distance to the hole and a better idea of where that 50/50 point is for your target landing area.

 

As a 7 cap, I think you can probably still stroke it by feel. But pacing it off may still be a good idea to help with shot planning.

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BASIC ADVICE ALERT: I found that i get more consistent strike when chipping by 1) choking all the way down on the grip, and 2) moving the ball closer to me. I will still play the ball back in my stance (adjust if you want more height in the chip) but it is just much closer to my feet when chipping.  This seems activate the bounce on the club a bit more allowing it to glide through the grass more freely.

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I have 3 backswing distances for my chips, one is less than club parallel, parallel, and then past parallel. I normally use a sand wedge. It’s pretty hingy wristy and gets a good amount of spin. Foe bump and runs I usually use pw to a 9. Back of stance and putt. Take a foot back like I would for a 50 foot putt and then rock shoulders. 

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Chipping does have a combination of feel and technical approaches to it. I too look at a chip and develop my stroke length to get the distance I want. I have seen others develop a certain distance of back stroke for each club starting with a PW and see how much flight to roll out you have. Example would be taking your 52 and taking a stroke to your ankle and seeing how much flight you get then seeing the rollout. Next is taking the same 52 and taking the club back to knee high which is about the max stroke length you should need on a chip and seeing what the flight to rollout distances are. Then you would just repeat the process with your 56 and 60. Just different ways to approach it and yes you have to put in some time on the chipping green but it will pay off on the golf course. 

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I would suggest not spending too much time learning to hit the same pitch shot with multiple different trajectories using many different clubs until you have really mastered the technique of making clean contact and hitting the ball the intended distance.

 

Many, many years ago I attended a half day short game clinic intended for players who weren't a beginner like I was. The entire emphasis was on getting really dialed in and visualizing the flight, landing and release of the ball with everything from LW down to 8-iron. 

 

When each of us were practicing toward the end of the session, the teacher came around to give us each suggestions. He watched me for a couple minutes and suggested I just take my sand wedge and go work on my basic technique rather than trying to create all the different shots. I literally could not hit two 20-yard chip shots in a row that would end up in the same ZIP code. And I was almost never getting the ball to the hole because everything was scuffed or flippy or out on the toe. 

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4 hours ago, North Butte said:

You won't want to hear it but I'll say it. The best way to expedite developing short game feel and touch is to abandon all the numerical stuff and practice seeing the shot, taking one practice stroke, then hitting the shot. Repeat as many times on as many different shots as necessary. 

 

Agreed. If you were to throw a baseball to somebody close to you, or if you were simply trying an underhand toss of a golf ball onto the green -- you would NEVER think about how far to take your arm back, or the tightness of your fingers on the different part of the ball, or anything like that. You would just simply do it.

 

Now just do that with a stick in your hands 

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You will be lost until you can reliably get the ball to land close to where you want it to land.

 

Pick a basket of an appropriate size (maybe start with a laundry basket), place it somewhere and scatter a dozen balls around it with varying distances/lies.  Now with your favorite club and chipping technique try chip all the balls to land in the basket.  (It is better if the distance of each chip randomized opposed to eg working near to far.)  See if trying to toss a ball underhand into the basket before you hit the chip helps your judgement of distance (if it does, then add this to your pre-shot visualization in playing situations).

 

Once you are good at this, then move to the practice green with a 2-yard radius circle on the green being your target for where the ball should end and scatter balls around.  For each chip pick a target in your mind (or mark it with a tee) for where you want your chip to land so that the ball will stop in your target circle.  Practice picking and hitting your landing target so that the ball ends in your circle.

Edited by cadoipi
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Lots of good stuff here guys. I didn’t mean to sound like a newb… I’m a decent player and again, sitting at a 7HC. I just recognize I have room for improvement in my chipping. 
 

Yes, for the most part of I focus on a landing spot I can hit it in that zip code pretty consistently. I guess what I was really looking for was some guidance on a system… I just finished about 2 hrs at my club chipping and my 52* is pretty close to 50/50 for carry/roll out. But, that club will obviously have to change with the amount of green I have to work with. I guess I just need to put time into figuring out my carry/roll out ratios with my other wedges. 

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I think getting used to visualizing the flight of the ball and how it releases with various club is much more useful than any numerical system. Any carry/roll ratio for a given club depends on the distance, the lie, the firmness and the speed of the green plus any slopes you're hitting off of or landing on. You simply can't compute that many numbers. 

 

So what you'll end up with is nailing down a certain club that is 50/50 for carry and roll from this lie today to that spot on this green today. But as soon as the green is firmer or slower or you're hitting off a slight slope of the lie is into the grain, etc., etc. you've got to adjust that 50/50...which brings you back to having to do it by feel and touch. 

 

Cut to the chase. Develop your feel and touch and cut out the middleman. The whole ratio thing is just worse than useless. 

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From August 18, 2021 I will be away from GolfWRX for a while.

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26 minutes ago, North Butte said:

I think getting used to visualizing the flight of the ball and how it releases with various club is much more useful than any numerical system. Any carry/roll ratio for a given club depends on the distance, the lie, the firmness and the speed of the green plus any slopes you're hitting off of or landing on. You simply can't compute that many numbers. 

 

So what you'll end up with is nailing down a certain club that is 50/50 for carry and roll from this lie today to that spot on this green today. But as soon as the green is firmer or slower or you're hitting off a slight slope of the lie is into the grain, etc., etc. you've got to adjust that 50/50...which brings you back to having to do it by feel and touch. 

 

Cut to the chase. Develop your feel and touch and cut out the middleman. The whole ratio thing is just worse than useless. 

Great advice. So if I cut out the middleman would you advise practicing with 1 wedge? Seems counterintuitive to get a feel for one club and then change it just bc you have more to less green to work with. I’m pretty comfortable chipping with my 60* but historically teachers always taught “get the ball rolling as soon as possible.” New school you see a lot more guys chipping with one club and adjusting trajectory with that club if needed. I need to nail down a philosophy!

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7 minutes ago, FormerBigDaddy said:

Great advice. So if I cut out the middleman would you advise practicing with 1 wedge? Seems counterintuitive to get a feel for one club and then change it just bc you have more to less green to work with. I’m pretty comfortable chipping with my 60* but historically teachers always taught “get the ball rolling as soon as possible.” New school you see a lot more guys chipping with one club and adjusting trajectory with that club if needed. I need to nail down a philosophy!

Yes, that's a tough one to decide. 

 

I struggle with all the short game stuff so usually I stick to my 52-degree unless I'm just absolutely forced to pitch one high over a bunker or something.

 

But I'm not one to talk. My confidence is so low I've got no problem just hitting a less-than-optimum club and shot selection and if I get it 10-15 feet from the hole that's not the end of the world.

 

The tricky part comes when you want to get it close!

From August 18, 2021 I will be away from GolfWRX for a while.

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1 hour ago, FormerBigDaddy said:

Great advice. So if I cut out the middleman would you advise practicing with 1 wedge? Seems counterintuitive to get a feel for one club and then change it just bc you have more to less green to work with. I’m pretty comfortable chipping with my 60* but historically teachers always taught “get the ball rolling as soon as possible.” New school you see a lot more guys chipping with one club and adjusting trajectory with that club if needed. I need to nail down a philosophy!

 

Sounds like you need to diversify your game to me. I'd get very comfortable with a high shot and low shot with each wedge. And develop a visualization of the trajectory and roll out with each.

 

Its like a QB throwing a pass over the middle to the TE. Are there 2 linebackers in zone that you need to zip it through? Or did they bite on the play action and now you need to throw a little floater over them that comes down in front of the safety. QB doesnt think about how far the arms goes back or any system. Its just a feel for the pass, and adjusting the launch conditions as necessary for the desired ball flight. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, FormerBigDaddy said:

Lots of good stuff here guys. I didn’t mean to sound like a newb… I’m a decent player and again, sitting at a 7HC. I just recognize I have room for improvement in my chipping. 
 

Yes, for the most part of I focus on a landing spot I can hit it in that zip code pretty consistently. I guess what I was really looking for was some guidance on a system… I just finished about 2 hrs at my club chipping and my 52* is pretty close to 50/50 for carry/roll out. But, that club will obviously have to change with the amount of green I have to work with. I guess I just need to put time into figuring out my carry/roll out ratios with my other wedges. 

 

I wouldn't recommend jumping straight into a system, instead build one up over a long period of time.  If you are able to accurately hit your spot and predict the roll with your 52*, then starting practicing with ONE more club (eg a 40* iron) and work with it until you are just as confident with it as with your 52* (while maintaining your comfort with your 52*).  Then build out from there...

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I use the OP's putting technique for chipping, especially under pressure.  I control distance through shoulder turn, but this is personal and a by feel comment.

 

The fact is this kind of shots are mostly based on feel, and the more you practice and experiment the more confortable and confident you'll feel.  If you notice junior golfers are all good at chipping and pitching.  They take it as a game, they try everything out and they're also full of imagination.  You take that attitude to the chipping green and there's a completely different perspective from P1, P2 and the likes.

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Trust your proprioceptors to determine how much force to use and not your conscious mind. 

 

proprioceptors: The central nervous system integrates proprioception and other sensory systems, such as vision and the vestibular system, to create an overall representation of body position, movement, and acceleration.

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What helped me most with chipping/pitching distance is to stand behind the ball straight up and facing it, focus on the target and make a few underhanded throw motions like I was going to toss the ball with my hand. Like if I had to stand stationary and just swing my right (trailing) arm to throw it, try to get that feel, keeping in mind the trajectory I want. 

 

Then just set up and try to recreate that motion into the shot while making sure I turn through it properly to get back into that "facing the target" position where I'm basically doing the same motion I rehearsed. 

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