The Basic Steps to Perfect Golf.

By Philip A Gorfett.

www.playperfectgolf.co.uk

 

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Lesson 7 - Chipping & Pitching.(Changed -07/09/2019)


 

CHIPPING & PITCHING

The longest and straightest golf shots in the world are totally ineffective unless you can get the ball into the hole in regulation figures or better, so it is important that you acquire the skills to finish off the perfect fairway shots.

Therefore it is time to look at the part of the game of golf which requires the golfer to be able to strike the ball correctly and land it with accuracy on the green.


I
f you can master the art of chipping and pitching the ball, you will see your scores drop by a few shots per round.


 

If you want to be able to chip and pitch the ball with precision there are three things you must learn:-

1) At the address position you must focus your eyes on the back edge of the golf ball and literally watch that point on the golf ball until the precise moment the club head makes contact with the ball and then maintain you focus on the spot the ball was resting for a millisecond after the ball has been struck.
( You must practice over and over the action of watching the back edge of the golf ball and fully focus on this point, right up to the precise moment the club head strikes the ball - with every golf shot.

Until you reach that point, you will struggle to be a very good chipper of the ball - you must focus on the point where the club head strikes the ball and keep the focus of your eyes on that point for much longer than you can imagine.)

2) You must learn to strike the ball with a downwards stroke. (The old saying " you got to hit down on the ball to get it to go up" is absolutely correct.)

3) At the precise moment the ball is struck, you must ensure that the hands and the club head move towards the target at the same speed.

 

The technique of pitching is simply a shorter version of the full swing, however the chipping action is a different technique altogether.

Chipping requires the golfer to use a selection of golf club, depending on the length of the shot required to enable the golfer to chip the ball so that it lands on a particular part of the green and run the remainder of the distance to the hole, remembering that any club you use to chip, the ball will normally run on the green the same distance that the ball was in the air.

However to key to very good chipping is that when it comes to playing the actual shot -- you must play the shot as you practiced the shot, do not have second thoughts about the speed of the club head.

The basic principle of all iron shots is that you must strike the ball with a descending blow to make the ball go up -and this principle is equally important when chipping the ball from around the green.

Experiment on the practice area and at first exaggerate the downwards strike of the club head into the top back edge of the ball and gradually you will achieve a bit of finesse and soon you will be able to control the flight and the strength of the chip shot required.

Chipping.


To correctly perform a chip shot, the shoulders, the arms must be held together as a solid unit and remain so throughout the action.

As you only make a short back swing movement for chipping it needs to be a combination of the shoulders rotating in order to push the arms away from the ball, whilst the wrists are forced to cock slightly to force the club head to move away from the ball at a faster rate.

Set Up
First of all slightly open your stance then put all of your weight onto the left leg and keep the weight over the left leg throughout the chipping action..

Place a ball in the middle of your stance and then address the ball.

At the address position hold the golf club with the hands slightly ahead of the golf ball and ensuring that the left arm and the golf club are seen to be a straight line.

Begin the chipping action by slowly rotating the shoulders and the arms for a very short distance, but force the wrists to cock so that the club head moves away from the ball at a faster rate, but keep the left arm as the controlling factor.
( On a short chip the wrist will only slightly cock.)

Make a back swing that you think is correct for the distance you intend to hit the ball --- then begin to rotate the shoulders back to the address position but ensuring that the wrist cock is manipulated so that at the precise moment the shoulders and the arms return to the original address position, the club head strikes the ball.

At the precise moment the club head strikes the ball, the club head and the hands move towards the target area at exactly the same speed, and simultaneously the hips also slightly rotate towards the target area.

 

Remember, the weight of the body must remain over the left foot, you must ensure that the head is firmly held in the original address position, this will assist in you performing the chipping action without the body swaying back and forth and you must watch the ball throughout the chipping action so that actually see the ball moving away as it is struck.

If you perform the chipping action correctly, after the ball has been struck you will see a black image on the ground where the ball was originally resting -- the image is only visible for a milli-second but it will confirm that you watched the ball right up to the point of contact.

 

To perform the perfect chipping action it only requires a slow half back swing movement, but it requires your absolute focus on the back edge of the golf ball so that you literally see the club head strike the ball with a descending blow, but ensuring that the club head strikes the ball before making contact with the ground.

 

When you first begin to try to chip in this manner, you will probable hit the ball too hard, but after a short while you will soon be able to judge the correct downwards pressure of the golf ball to send the ball a particular distance.
But importantly the hands must move towards the target area at the same speed that the club head moves through the contact area, thus maintaining the left arm and the golf club in a straight line as set at the impact position, until well after the ball has been struck.

 

Therefore to achieve the desired result you must focus on using the club head to strike down on the back of the ball.

The chipping movement is a seamless action created by the rotational movement of the upper body unit coupled with a flexible wrist action, therefore it is vital that you maintain your focus on the back of the golf ball at all times.

 


TIP (for Chipping)

The key to mastering the art of chipping is to keep the weight of your body predominantly on your front foot,
(Which is the left foot if you are a right handed player.) and the head absolutely dead still whilst the upper body unit rotates back and forth, but importantly, you must focus your eyes intensely on the back edge of the golf ball, ie, the part of the ball you can see - this is where the club head must be aimed.

(You must maintain this focus on this point for a much longer period than you can imagine.)


It is absolutely vital that you focus on the back edge of the ball right up to the precise moment the club head strikes the ball , then as soon as the ball is struck, the hands and the club head swing towards the target area as a single unit.

( The extent of the body turn both back and forth, depends on how far the chip shot has to travel)

But the overriding factors that will enable you to chip with perfection is to keep the head firmly in the original address position throughout the chipping stroke, make sure the lower part of the body does not sway and equally important, make sure that your hands move past the original address position at the same speed that the club head strikes the ball with a downwards action.

Any lateral movement of the head, no matter how slight, will result in a miss hit.


However when playing a chip shot on the golf course, I can assure you that most golfers take their eyes off the ball a fraction of a second before the club head strikes the ball and therefore prematurely begin to look to see where the ball is going.

This results in disasters such as hitting the ground behind the ball, thinning the shot or even shanking the ball - watching the ball until the club head strikes the ball and learning to strike the ball with a slicing action will rectify the problem.


When carrying out a very delicate chip shots, it often only requires a very slow quarter back swing movement, nevertheless chipping the ball is a simple task as long as you follow a few standard rules, which includes:-

1) Holding the shoulder, the arms and the golf club firmly together as a very compact and solid unit, holding the arms so that the elbows remain as close together as it is physically possible and with the right elbows tucked into the waist, and with the club face square to the target line.

2) Focus intensely on the back edge of the golf ball and ensure that the club face remains square to the ball as it strikes the golf ball with slightly descending blow and with a slicing action and then continue to move the hands past the original address position, at the same speed that the club head moves through the contact area whilst the club face remains square to the target line.

Use the wrist action to accelerate the club head to strike down on the back of the ball until well after the ball has been struck, but importantly, with the club face held square to the target line at all times.
( Most golfers take their eyes off the ball a fraction of a second before the club head makes contact.)

3) Keeping the head firmly positioned slightly behind the ball and in the Fixed Frontal condition and holding the lower part of the body absolutely still until well after the ball has been struck.


 

It is vital that you learn to focus your eyes on the ball and literally watch the back edge of the golf ball until the precise moment the club head strikes the ball, but importantly, the weight of your body must be predominantly over the front foot so that your head remains fixed in the original address position.

 


Practice Swings.

The practice swings will give you the opportunity to estimate how far you have to take the club head back in the back swing movement in order to create sufficient momentum of the club head to move the ball the distance that you desire.

The practice swings are also important for you to build up a mentally image in your mind of the club head sweeping down under the ball without any resistance from the golf ball.

But remember, at the precise moment that the club head makes contact with the ball, the shoulders, the arms and the angle of the golf club must remain fully bonded as a very compact unit.

Make sure that every practice swing that you make has a useful input to your memory cells.

All the tuition in the world cannot teach you the delicate touch that is required during the chipping process, only by practicing the chipping technique on the practice ground will you be able to develop these skills, but I can assure you that if you can teach yourself to actually see the club head strike the ball, your chipping will improve dramatically.

 


Pitching.

A Pitch shot is simply a shortened version of the full golf swing.

Therefore to pitch the ball it simply requires you to carry out exactly the same swing movements that you would use for the full swing, the only difference is that you only make a maximum of a three quarter swing action and in addition, the swing action is slower than the full swing.
Therefore the emphasis is on precision, because the distance is determined by the length of your back swing.

 

Although the pitch shot is a shorter version of the full shot, in order to dramatically increase your chances of pitching the ball in an accurate manner it is absolutely vital that you :-

1) Learn to focus on the back edge of the golf ball and literally watch the back edge of the ball until the club head strikes the ball.

2) Keep the head firmly positioned slightly behind the ball with "pin point accuracy" at all times and in the Fixed Frontal condition.

3) Use the pivotal movement of the hips to literally force the compact upper body unit to follow its movement and rotate back to the original address position and on into the follow through movement - but concentrating on swinging the club head to the bottom of the swing arc with an "out to in" swing plane

(The downward movement of the club head as it strikes the ball automatically moves the ball upwards and forward for a distance that is dependent on the loft of the club face and the speed of the club head.)

 

However the same principle applies, you must watch the ball carefully so that you strike the ball cleanly with a descending blow, but importantly you must watch the spot that the ball was resting on whilst the club head swings to the bottom of the swing arc.

When you are fully focused on the ball and you maintain this focus until after the ball has been struck, you will notice that after the ball has been struck, the retina retains the image of the ball for a millisecond, but magically this image has been converted to a black image.

Therefore if you can detect this dark image directly after you have struck the ball, this will indicate to you that you have correctly continued to look at the position the ball was resting until after the ball was struck.

 

Importantly, the head must remain positioned slightly behind the ball and in the Frontal Facing condition and the upper body angle must be retained until well after the ball has been struck.


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