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Phil Mickelson Chipping 101 - I don't understand?


nova6868
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Have been re-evaluating my short game recently because I fear it's become too complicated. It's great in practice and terrible when I play. I've previously had multiple launch options for short game shots - low, medium, high, flop. I started to wonder if this is causing too much indecision and I need to simplify my available shots. 

 

In the Mickelson short game video he advocates only having a low and a high shot. But his reasoning is that you can't play the ball in the middle of your stance because you'll swing high and miss the ball entirely. But doesn't that logic also work for the ball back in your stance hitting the low shot? Wouldn't you also miss that ball? I don't get it. 

 

 

 

 

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I think it's an over exaggeration, he is just trying to make a point, in the middle is not a commitment to the type of shot you want to hit.  Ball position is a very deceptive thing.  Most people think of it as where the ball is in relation to your feet, but in reality the width of stance creates misconceptions.  Adress the ball with your feet together, that should be your ball position in relation to your body.  then move your front foot forward a bit, and your back foot back a bit more.  That is the perfect ball position for most shots.  Wider if it's a full shot, narrower with the back foot on a short pitch shot. For most people the ball will be somewhere below the logo on your shirt.  

 

If you want to hit the ball lower, either play less loft or move the ball back to your right heel as he describes and have some shaft lean, the shot will come out lower but with spin if you use high loft.  Beware though, if you don't make ball first contact it is chunk city.  

 

With the ball in the standard position you can use the bounce, hit it a bit chunky and you will still get good results if you brush the ground with the bounce.  

 

Phi is a short game wizard, but his method is not my favorite, too much shaft lean, but it's effective if you practice it.  

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I have watched his entire short game series, and he does basically teach 3 shots, the low ball back shot, the standard pitch, and the flop.  With his techniqe the flow is basically the ball forward shot with a wide open clubface while aiming the body left and hitting a big cut.  You really have to "hold" the face open.  I'd focus on the first two shots they will take care of 99% of the shots you need.  

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Yeah I think I'm going to reduce to 3 shots: low shot, standard/high shot, and flop shot. And actually my problem has been getting hands too far forward on all the shots and getting the leading edge into the ground, so maybe I should only play the low shot when absolutely required by the lie. Can always play standard shot with 8-iron or 9-iron or whatever. Thanks. 

 

 

Edited by nova6868
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I watched this many times when it first came out. His advice on the flop shot is outstanding. But his chipping advice is really hard to replicate for the average -- or even skilled -- golfer. Phil is a genius, but you're more likely to set your game back than push it forward by using his approach. There are other elite short-game players -- Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Brad Faxon -- that are just as effective and whose techniques are far easier for mortal golfers to implement. 

 

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1 minute ago, uglande said:

I watched this many times when it first came out. His advice on the flop shot is outstanding. But his chipping advice is really hard to replicate for the average -- or even skilled -- golfer. Phil is a genius, but you're more likely to set your game back than push it forward by using his approach. There are other elite short-game players -- Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Brad Faxon -- that are just as effective and whose techniques are far easier for mortal golfers to implement. 

 

And Phil's comment about the problems with the ball in the middle of the stance are complete nonsense. I know he's a pro and I'm not, but he's just wrong. There are scores of high-level pros who chip with a middle ball position. 

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Yeah, it's hard not to admire the man's skill, and I actually use a lot of his philosophy in my own short game...

 

but I've generally found Phil's mechanical advice pretty useless - or even harmful. Hinge and hold? No thank you...

 

YMMV.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Blonde Line Lizard said:

I'm not sure why people watch these videos from FIGJAM.  I mean what does he really know about a golf swing, let alone playing golf.

 

Everyone knows WRXers are the best golfers on the planet so just get all the advise you need here.

 

I mean sure, Phil has golf credentials that - at least to the best of my knowledge - no WRXer comes close to matching. There's probably like 50 people in the history of the world who might. 

 

But that doesn't mean that his approach or technique is automatically going to be the best for everyone. It's like taking backswing advice from Jim Furyk. Sure, he makes it work, but would I recommend it for everyone?

 

So yeah, I'm sure there are folks out there who use Phil's advice and mechanics just fine. But, it certainly doesn't work for me, and many others apparently. Doesn't necessarily mean he is wrong - just weird.

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I'm not a big phil fan, and I'm not keen on the modern technique of chipping with a 60°. But having said that, recognize this video was for the average golfer, not a pro.

 

I was taught this general method 50 years ago: ball off the right foot, weight forward, shaft lean. It's really easy to catch the ball solid. Very simple. Not difficult to maintain with little practice. Easy to vary trajectory with same swing, different clubs.

 

Having 2 short game shots is plenty. Like the comment above, that covers 99% of your pitches and chips.

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13 minutes ago, MrFlipper said:

I'm not a big phil fan, and I'm not keen on the modern technique of chipping with a 60°. But having said that, recognize this video was for the average golfer, not a pro.

 

I was taught this general method 50 years ago: ball off the right foot, weight forward, shaft lean. It's really easy to catch the ball solid. Very simple. Not difficult to maintain with little practice. Easy to vary trajectory with same swing, different clubs.

 

Having 2 short game shots is plenty. Like the comment above, that covers 99% of your pitches and chips.

 

Agreed.  This modern obsession with "the leading edge" is making chipping a lot more complicated than it needs to be

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What's wrong with Phil's advice or mechanics here?  

 

1) Weight Forward

2) Hands Forward

3) Ball Position affecting ball flight

 

Seems pretty standard 101 chipping information.  

 

Also what's different about the way Phil chips and the majority of the PGA tour?  Are you guys saying there is huge philosophical or mechanical differences among them?  What are they? 

 

One thing I do know, is every PGA tour player has a huge arsenal of short game shots.  

 

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The great thing about playing only five clubs is that I can take a few practice swings with all of them right before a round.

I also get to practice chipping in my back yard, which presents a reasonable variety of challenging lies.

 

How do those of you with a full bag of 14 clubs get to practice all those shots?

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26 minutes ago, ShortGolfer said:

The great thing about playing only five clubs is that I can take a few practice swings with all of them right before a round.

I also get to practice chipping in my back yard, which presents a reasonable variety of challenging lies.

 

How do those of you with a full bag of 14 clubs get to practice all those shots?

if we're talking chipping, i'm only practicing with 1 club maybe 2

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I may be wrong (I often am) but Phil's chipping technique always seemed to wristy to me, too many moving parts.

 

He's skilled enough and has enough time to practice that it works for him. Most players, particularly amateurs, will most likely benefit from a technique that is simpler and has fewer moving parts.

 

But, of course, these are generalities. There will always be some variance among individuals.

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1 hour ago, nova6868 said:

I think the differences in technique are outlined in the first 6 minutes of this video comparing Justin Thomas to Jordan Spieth. 

 

 

 

I did not hear any differences in technique or mechanics being discussed.  Only reference to a divot being taken vs not.  

 

I think Jordan was just playing a different shot than JT at the time.  More of spinner than a soft shot like JT.  I'm pretty sure you don't see Spieth taking a divot on every chip shot.  Just like you probably would see JT take a divot on some chip shots.  

 

Mechanics and technique look very similar to me.  Hands stay ahead of the club head, chest rotates back and through, extension after impact.  Weight pressure also probably very similar as shown on boditrak from many PGA players.  

 

Or do you mean techniques as in different chips shots?  E.G. flop, spin, bump n run, etc.  

 

 

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22 minutes ago, jholz said:

I may be wrong (I often am) but Phil's chipping technique always seemed to wristy to me, too many moving parts.

 

He's skilled enough and has enough time to practice that it works for him. Most players, particularly amateurs, will most likely benefit from a technique that is simpler and has fewer moving parts.

 

But, of course, these are generalities. There will always be some variance among individuals.

 

I agree.  Most amateurs would benefit from simpler and less complex movements.  

 

I think there is a lot of variance on PGA when it comes to how much or little wrist is used.  But I also think it is dictated by the type of shot they have.  In the OP video, Phil is not using much wrist at all from what I can see.  Granted he's hitting some stock basic chip shots.  Vintage Phil with big flops or needing to come in steep out of thick rough, way more wrist action.  

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10 hours ago, nova6868 said:

Yeah I think I'm going to reduce to 3 shots: low shot, standard/high shot, and flop shot. And actually my problem has been getting hands too far forward on all the shots and getting the leading edge into the ground, so maybe I should only play the low shot when absolutely required by the lie. Can always play standard shot with 8-iron or 9-iron or whatever. Thanks. 

 

 

Checkout Padraig. He does a much better job explaining himself than most anyone Ive ever listened to.  
 

 

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8 minutes ago, bladehunter said:

Checkout Padraig. He does a much better job explaining himself than most anyone Ive ever listened to.  
 

 

 

Really good explanation overall and I like this advice starting at about 9:00 into the video...."do not try to use the bounce"...."the bounce only saves you on a bad shot".

 

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9 hours ago, jholz said:

Yeah, it's hard not to admire the man's skill, and I actually use a lot of his philosophy in my own short game...

 

but I've generally found Phil's mechanical advice pretty useless - or even harmful. Hinge and hold? No thank you...

 

YMMV.

 

 

HnH is accurate, but for me it only spits out the low runners. If I want a higher shot I have to get all the way through it.

My short game is solid, but the abbreviated strokes have hurt my full swing release.

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Phil’s chipping matches up with his putting stroke. I find that when I was using forward press with shaft lean works for putting also works for his chipping style  

I have since developed a more neutral shaft position  for putting and chipping and don’t subscribe  to his methods anymore 
Like Phil says there many ways to chip You can just take what you think works for yourself 

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I committed to the hinge and hold last year and it's revolutionized my short game.

 

Chipping was one of my weakest skills and is now a strength.

 

Sure, I could hit some flops that might wow you, but was terribly inconsistent on easier chips.  Now, I use the lower trajectory, back foot, hinge and hold with a 56° 90% of the time. I really can't express how much it's improved my game. 

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20 hours ago, jholz said:

Yeah, it's hard not to admire the man's skill, and I actually use a lot of his philosophy in my own short game...

 

but I've generally found Phil's mechanical advice pretty useless - or even harmful. Hinge and hold? No thank you...

 

YMMV.

 

 

 

Yeah.  Looking back on my own journey I actually think this was the start of my chipping yips.  

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15 minutes ago, liquorandpoker said:

 

Yeah.  Looking back on my own journey I actually think this was the start of my chipping yips.  

 

I would make a similar claim. To get out of it, I had to quiet the wrists. I honestly adopted what is essentially a putting stroke for generic chips. Weight forward, shaft forward, and then a nice rocking of the shoulders ensuring acceleration through impact. Since my hands are dead, it comes out soft, and rolls out predictably.

 

Of course, for some of the fancier shots - anything higher and spinnier - I do end up having to get the wrists involved. 

 

 

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20 hours ago, wagolfer7 said:

 

I did not hear any differences in technique or mechanics being discussed.  Only reference to a divot being taken vs not.  

 

I think Jordan was just playing a different shot than JT at the time.  More of spinner than a soft shot like JT.  I'm pretty sure you don't see Spieth taking a divot on every chip shot.  Just like you probably would see JT take a divot on some chip shots.  

 

Mechanics and technique look very similar to me.  Hands stay ahead of the club head, chest rotates back and through, extension after impact.  Weight pressure also probably very similar as shown on boditrak from many PGA players.  

 

Or do you mean techniques as in different chips shots?  E.G. flop, spin, bump n run, etc.  

 

 

I saw another video elsewhere where Jordan discussed his technique.  Jordan likes to take a dviot, almost always does, his main concern is getting the leading edge under the ball.  That being said he obviously has a great short game and can hit a variety of shots, it's just his tendency.  He is probably just a few degrees steeper than Justin, nothing really wrong with that, all techniques needs a balance of steep and shallow moves.  James Siekman discusses this concept in his short game book.  I think Phil sets up with a lot of steep, shaft lean, weight forward, but balances it with his hold technique where he holds the face off and keeps the bounce of the club pointing at the plane of the swing to stop it from digging that much.  Different ways to do it.  In other words, he doesnt release the leading edge into the ground like he does on a full swing, he holds the loft/Bounce to the plane.  

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15 hours ago, bladehunter said:

Checkout Padraig. He does a much better job explaining himself than most anyone Ive ever listened to.  
 

 

wow.  He covers a lot of info, it just shows you how his brain works.  Probably why he is always tinkering.  Good stuff though.  

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