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Golf: Chipping and Pitching

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
These quotes taken from Golf: Ball Flight Help
In the interest of keeping the technique and tips for different parts of the game on track.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SrMike View Post

As far as chipping, pitching and greenside bunker shots keep practicing. Playing out of sand is an art and how you play the shot depends on the firmness of the sand, the depth of the sand and the lie. Fortunately, the basics are pretty much the same. Play the ball forward in the stance with the stance open and the weight on the forward foot. Open the club face and take the wristy swing and hit the sand about 2" behind the ball. The sole of the club should bounce off the sand under the ball and splash it out onto the green. The sand shot is the only shot in golf where the club doesn't actually hit the ball.

BTW, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was don't try a shot on the course you've never practiced.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
Good advice, let me add a thought on one of the most common errors golfers make-and this applies to all golf shots, do not decelerate as you come into the ball. Also,an image that sometimes helps with the splash concept is to imagine the ball is laying on a dollar bill (length wise to the target) and you are trying to slide the club under the dollar bill.
Thanks for all of these tips.
The dollar bill thing is a good visual for the 2" behind the ball thing.
I took 5 lessons last year and have yet to schedule a lesson this year, but I've gotten out more and am really getting some experience (good and bad).

My family owns a gravel pit with a huge mass of screened/washed sand.(we sell to golf course ) I think I'll go to the gravel pit and practice some. Can't hurt and it may help.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil View Post
Remember-your first goal is to get out, this may even mean playing away from the flag or green. Given the right conditions, firm sand and a low lip I've even had novices putt out of a bunker.
Practice is something I've become a bit addicted to.
I'm not much of a TV watcher, so if I'm not out doing something, I will pick up a few clubs and go in my yard to practice some of this stuff.

I practiced Chipping a little over a week ago like this:
I threw about 20 balls out in my yard randomly (I have a varied sloped yard) I put a laundry basked in the middle of where the balls landed, and just started chipping the balls toward the laundry basked. My goal was to get them in the basket but be happy if I got within 2 feet of the basket. I started out counting how many hits I made, but lost track. I'd say I hit 100 times, before I got all the balls within 1 foot of the basket and actually got 4 in the basket.
My theory is, if I can get my chipping to a point where my ball can land on the green within 2 feet of the hole, I've got it made.
post #2 of 29
Thanks for starting the online golf academy, TC. I too can gain from this advice.

I have a question re long and short shots and the actions of the lower body. In general, I am trying to play from the ground up (base of support). This seems more appropos the longer the shot, i.e., we want to rely more on actions of the lower body to launch long shots (turning the hips, posting the inside leg on the turns, loading the inside of the feet) and more on actions of the upper body to launch short shots (supple grip, firm arms, steady shoulders). Does this ring a bell with anyone else?
post #3 of 29
Sad but True...What has helped my putting has been video games, particularly "Hot Shots Golf" for the PS2. It helped me read greens and see more breaks.
post #4 of 29
For advice on finding the line, try

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to find the right body language to get my chipping in order.
Nolo, you touched on the "ground- up" .
I tend to use my lower body more on a drive, my upper body more on my putting and my hips/core more on chipping, but I'm not comfortable with how my body feels when I chip or pitch.

Where should my shoulders be, in relation to my hands and hips?
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick View Post
I'm trying to find the right body language to get my chipping in order.
Nolo, you touched on the "ground- up" .
I tend to use my lower body more on a drive, my upper body more on my putting and my hips/core more on chipping, but I'm not comfortable with how my body feels when I chip or pitch.

Where should my shoulders be, in relation to my hands and hips?
Let me provide a quick (the alarm goes off at 4:45 tomorrow morning since I get to open the pro shop at 6:30) primer on chips vs. pitching and some of the fundamentals.

A chip is a shot made around the green (with no intervening obstacles such as a bunker) when it is inadvisable to putt. It will generally have more ground (rolling) time than air time. The stance for a chip is narrower with the ball played off the inside of the back foot. Your weight is biased toward the left side and the butt end of the club will be pointed somewhere toward your front side (i.e., the hands are set ahead of the clubhead). All of the setup items are designed to promote a descending blow allowing the loft of the club to propel the ball into the air instead of the golfer trying to lift the ball. For most chips there is minimal wrist action-think of a putting stroke with a modified stance and ball position.

Your goal is to land the ball about 3 feet on the green then allow it to roll the rest of the way to the hole (you have much more control of a rolling ball than one in the air). Depending on the roll length and slope of the green use different clubs-I'll chip with anything for a 58 degree wedge to a 6 iron.

A pitch has more air time than roll time. Your stance is more normal with the ball played in the middle. Because it (generally) involves more distance the length of you back swing will see the wrists start to hinge. Don't make the wrist hinge conscious action. This shot too is played with a descending blow allowing the clubs loft to propel the ball upward. My thought process with pitches is to (depending on length) rotate my chest away from the target and rotate it to the target and simply focus on hitting down through the ball.

Hope this helps a bit-let me know if it is confusing-I can try to add more yet simplify (hmm, sounds like skiing)
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick
I'm trying to find the right body language to get my chipping in order.
Nolo, you touched on the "ground- up" .
I tend to use my lower body more on a drive, my upper body more on my putting and my hips/core more on chipping, but I'm not comfortable with how my body feels when I chip or pitch.

Where should my shoulders be, in relation to my hands and hips?
IMHO, as you play shorter shots, pitches and chips, you need to be more open and to keep the weight more on your front foot. I even open up my stance a little on slightly less than full shots.

One of the keys to a good golf swing is to have all the parts of your body synchronized when you make a swing. On a chip or pitch you're not worried about taking the club back. Accelerating through the ball and having a good follow through is more important. By opening up, it makes it easier for the hips to lead and for the shoulders to clear.

Just to be clear, for a right hander, open is left of target. An open stance would be aimed left of target. i.e. Lee Trevino.

Practice!
post #8 of 29
Chip is much easier to master than pitch. Mike is dead on, but my .02 on pitches is to take the club back slower and shorter than you think you need to. Lets say for a pitch you think with the club you selected on your practice swing, the head needs to get to your waist, or 9 o clock.

I will do so on the practice swing, get it to 9 oclock. But then on the real swing, I will only take it to about 7-8 oclock, and then hit it a little harder.

This for me eliminates the dreaded deceleration, which just kills pitches, causes fat shots, ruins them. Can't do it.

Maybe I am just fooling myself, but I never decelerate a pitch shot any more.

Pitching form requires practice at range. Figure out what works there on mulitple types of pitches, then take to course.
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
WOW! You guys are amazing at explaining this stuff!
I used some of these tips and have improved. Can't wait to try this out Buz. One question......when you swing the club at 7 o'clock ish , what are you doing with your wrists. I've been told to swing from my shoulders on this type of shot and I've been told to use my wrists.

I think I'll practice in my yard tonight.
post #10 of 29
IMO, if you use the clock example, any time the club head gets over about 10 o clock, your wrists have to begin to break, just naturally. So personally, that is where I would change from having a stiff wrist to a bending wrist. Below 10, I personally have stiff wrists on a simple pitch. Over hazards when you have to hit it very high, is different matter. On either shot, you want to use your shoulders to turn. That is simply good mechanics, no matter what style of shot, basically.

But the key to the pitch is no deceleration, period. That is why I take it back less than I think I need. Forces a faster swing for me to get it there, reducing/eliminating decel clubhead.
post #11 of 29
One drill that will help with chips and short pitches is to put a 3' extension in the grip of the club to practice with. In a chip or short pitch you don't let the clubhead get ahead of the hands and the stick in the grip will teach you how to do that. (Or you will hit yourself with the stick

I'm not a big fan of Dave PelZ technique wise; however, he is right on the money statistics wise. If you want to test your short game and putting, here is a link to evaluation tests. http://www.pelzgolf.com/Institute/SGH/SGH.aspx

Have fun.
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 
What if I don't want to know how bad my short game is ?
Actually, because I'm so new to this, my whole game needs work, but since I've been working on my short game, its improved drastically. Believe it or not, these tips along with Golf Magazine have helped tremendously.

I am planning on Hooking up with Betsie(my golf pro) for a game. She'll be shocked.
post #13 of 29
Trek,

The best thing you can do is what you are doing. Practice. Gets the muscle and brain memory ingrained to hopefully proper technique. Then when you get on the course, and face the same "backyard" chip or pitch you have practiced lots, all you have to do is think alingment and how much/hard. Less thinking about technique on course the better.

On the course all you want to do is visualize how the shot will look. If you are thinking about technique during your swing, you are in for a long round.

This is also why golf is a tough sport to take up as an adult. Very rare is the adult who can put in enough practice time to make it enjoyable on the course. Make practice fun, and you will want to do it more.

When I go to a range, I "play" a course I know well, starting at hole one going thru 18. That is use the right clubs for the hole, working thru all the holes, always aiming at specific targets. If there is a bad shot, repeat until satisfied, move to next shot or hole. Whats great about that is I always have no putts, and a great score!
post #14 of 29
This is very helpful information. To clarify, the tip to slide your club under the dollar bill is only for sand, is that correct? I misunderstood and was trying to slide a dollar bill under the ball on grass. Sometimes it worked beautifully but I was also skulling way more short shots than ever before with my previous "hit down on the ball dammit" technique.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
This is very helpful information. To clarify, the tip to slide your club under the dollar bill is only for sand, is that correct?
Yes. I can think of some very special shots here I might utilize that concept from the grass but they are way beyond the average goofer, oops, I meant golfer.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikewil
Yes. I can think of some very special shots here I might utilize that concept from the grass but they are way beyond the average goofer, oops, I meant golfer.
Hey, let's teach everyone how to play the cut lob shot.:

You need a low bounce 60* lob wedge. Lay the face open to where it's nearly parallel to the ground. Using your chipping stance, open, hands forward, take the club back and come into the ball with a pretty steep path, keeping your hands forward. You just want to nip it.

When executed correctly, the ball gets in the air quick, with a lot of spin. Great shot to have when you are short sided. Did I mention you need to be really precise with this shot because there is a high probability of skulling it.:

Actually, I learned to play this shot with a 56* sand wedge with 14* of bounce. With some practice, I can play this shot off hardpan with a sand wedge. It's a little easier with a lob wedge.


This is a great shot to have. However, it's probably not necessary to learn it until you are a single digit or are getting close to being one.
post #17 of 29
I think I learned that shot, and it worked really well for one round, then the next time I tried it I thought it was in my bag of tricks and lo and behold what I pulled out was the dreaded skulled shot. It is a beautiful cue, though (the dollar bill one).
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post
I think I learned that shot, and it worked really well for one round, then the next time I tried it I thought it was in my bag of tricks and lo and behold what I pulled out was the dreaded skulled shot. It is a beautiful cue, though (the dollar bill one).
I'm with ya nolo.
I used this technique a few times and figured it was in my 'bag', then Ugh!

I think its still that dreaded 6 inches between my ears that I really have trouble with.
post #19 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick View Post
I think its still that dreaded 6 inches between my ears that I really have trouble with.
Thats where the game is really played!!!

Mike
post #20 of 29
The dollar bill tip is my go to for sand shots. Don't forget to open the face also, but this is somewhat dependant on length of shot. Around the green, open it up, aim a little left, accelerate thru, dollar bill, you're out no problem.

I am pretty good with the lob shot, really aggravating golfing buddies, who think they are in good shape on the hole and I pull out the 50' in the air, 10 yards forward over the trap shot to tucked in pin, and make the putt.

Mostly comes from lots of practice with that shot, due to my army golf style of play, left, right, left, right, or good shot, bad shot, good shot, bad shot, etc.

I am a scrambling machine. Would feel lost if I ever hit 14 fairways and greens in one round. That can also lead to lots of practice on trouble recovery shots, and you can get pretty good at them. Under trees, hook/slice around trees, over trees hit super high, etc, etc, etc.

Trek, don't practice that lob shot in your backyard unless there is room for the skull!!! could cost you a window or brained neighbor!!!
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

Drop a dime on trouble

Does anyone else read Golf Magazine?
I got a free subscription last fall and have been trying to "read up"

The August issue came in my mailbox yesterday with a tip on chipping
A portion of the article:
Quote:
Drop a dime a few inches behind your ball, grab a wedge and swing back with your arms and shoulders as with a long butting stroke. Hit the dime first...and accelerate through. The coin pops up, but the shallow path and the wedge's bounce let the club slide toward the ball, as if on skis. You'll never miss again!
This is worth a try, even if it costs me a dime
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick View Post
Does anyone else read Golf Magazine?
I got a free subscription last fall and have been trying to "read up"

The August issue came in my mailbox yesterday with a tip on chipping
A portion of the article:

This is worth a try, even if it costs me a dime
That sounds like a horrible tip to me. I think the tips and instruction published in Golf and Golf Digest are very mixed, not systematic, and often little more than what passes as conventional golf wisdom. I usually peruse both mags just as I can't help but read both Ski and Skiing. But I ignore the instruction. The bottom of your swing arc should actually be about 4 inchs in front of the ball. Hitting a dime placed behind the ball seems to be a recipe for lots of very fat shots. If you're interested, here's a few golf instruction books I think are pretty useful. Jim Hardy's "The Plane Truth" and "The Plane Truth Master Class." He describes two very different types of swings and makes a conincing argument that the "tips" that might be useful for a two-plane swing are not useful for a one-plane swing, and vice versa. I think Stan Utley's books, "The Art of Putting" and "The Art of the Short Game" are very good. And for the mental side of golf I really like "Every Shot Must Have a Purpose," "Fearless Golf," "Zen Golf," and "Zen Putting." The latter books provide a nice outlook on life as well as golf.
post #23 of 29
Just got my golf issue today. I think ski tips and golf tips are very similar in one respect. Taken out of context it's easy to get a totally different perspective than what was intended. What one sees in a written up tip could be very different from an in person lesson experience. For me, this tip works better if you put the dime closer to the ball and focused on hitting the dime with the back of the club face. The key is the putting stroke (I don't think a "butting" stroke is legal). For me, this prevents the fat or thin hits that would seem to be expected from hitting "a few inches" behind the ball. My perception is that the key objective of this tip is to learn how to use a club's bounce. That's a good thing. Another good thing about this tip was that it let me be more confident about accelerating through the contact point. I believe I can use those learned feelings without without hitting a few inches behind the ball.

What's not mentioned in the tip:
- trying to use bounce on tight lies is a riskier shot, even if you're using a stroke that makes it easier
- sand wedges are the clubs that typically have the most bounce. but your clubs may vary!

I think the most important thing about tips like these, whether they are golf or ski tips, is that there are two possible benefits to trying them:
- it actually might work for you
- doing any tip at the least can help you develop a better feel for slight differences in technique and your ability to effect small changes in your swing on command. There is also a down side. You can learn bad habits.
post #24 of 29
For great "free" golf instruction go to www.lynnblakegolf.com Register(it's free) go to gallery and click on the various videos. I particularly like the Lynn Blake with Gary Hull instructional video. The Tom Tomasell videos are wonderful too. Watch the video lettrs from Tom Tomasell recorder years after he did the instructional videos. In the video letters he discusses , what he was really doing in his earlier instructional videos. Its great stuff. Lynn Blake and Tom Tomasello are and where disciples of Homer Kelly, who wrote maybe the most thorough aand comprehensive mechanical breakdown of the golf swing. The information presented in these videos will change your perspective on the mechanics of the golf swing. I only wished I would have found this stuff years ago , before so many swing flaws have been grooved into my swing. Try and incorporate getting the hands through the ball ahead of the club head. If you can do this I believe you will be well on your way to developing a superior golf swing.
post #25 of 29
Thread Starter 
I stopped by the driving range to talk to Betsy, (my golf instructor, golf pro extrordinaire) She gave me some more tips and confirmed that this dime thing would only work in extremely specific situations, and would not recommend that I make it a priority in my bag of tricks.
Then she showed me some stuff I LOVE.

Oh, and she also shared her Michigan Open Qualifier experience.
She made it, and will be playing the Michigan open next week!!
I think this is totally cool, and will be watching on line!
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by trekchick View Post
I stopped by the driving range to talk to Betsy, (my golf instructor, golf pro extrordinaire) She gave me some more tips and confirmed that this dime thing would only work in extremely specific situations, and would not recommend that I make it a priority in my bag of tricks.
Then she showed me some stuff I LOVE.

Oh, and she also shared her Michigan Open Qualifier experience.
She made it, and will be playing the Michigan open next week!!
I think this is totally cool, and will be watching on line!
Good. I've only been perusing the golf-related threads on epic sporadically and not reading them very systematically. Glad to here you have a good instructor. I think the best way to improve is to work with a good instructor who's system and methods you buy into. And then practice with a purpose. I started working with a person late last summer. He has a comprehensive approach that goes way beyond trying to do little fixes. A typical lesson would be to warm up using a few of his maniacal training tools. Then go over to the pitching and chipping green and hit wedges from all kinds of funky lies. Then finish with work on the full swing. At my last lesson he had me hitting drivers off sidehill lies (ball way above my feet) with no tee -- It was basically a drill to emphasize changes he wants me to incorporate into my swing. He always talks to me about knowing where the bottom of my swing arc will be on any shot. Without telling me he was doing it he has basically converted me from a two-plane swinger to a one-plane swinger. I feel like I've learned a lot about swing mechanics and different types of swings. And I just think that going from tip to tip that you read in golf magazines or hear from folks you're playing with can be counterproductive. I have a long way to go and I know there will be good rounds and bad, but I'm playing the best golf of my life and believe I can get a lot better. I think most of us would feel the same way about the process of improving our skiing. The ski instruction that I read in Ski and Skiing is pretty disjointed and can easily be taken out of context. But working with good ski instructors can transform one's skiing. Hit em well.
post #27 of 29
Finding a good instructor, taking lessons and learning to be consistant is one of the big keys in improving at golf. IMNSHO, I think most beginning golfers would be better served in the long run if they learned to play the game from the green backwards. A good short game saves a lot of strokes. Golfers with deadly short games are feared opponents becaue they are never out of a hole.

Keep at it.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SrMike View Post
Finding a good instructor, taking lessons and learning to be consistant is one of the big keys in improving at golf. IMNSHO, I think most beginning golfers would be better served in the long run if they learned to play the game from the green backwards. A good short game saves a lot of strokes. Golfers with deadly short games are feared opponents becaue they are never out of a hole.

Keep at it.
Harvey Penick's "Little Red Book" stresses starting at the green. Two of his pupils, Kite and Crenshaw, turned out to be decent players
post #29 of 29
You left out Kathy Whitworth. I think she did OK too.

BTW, Kite, as a junior, was not a standout player. Just goes to show what can happen if you keep at it.
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