Chipping and Pitches

It’s easy to overlook the importance of acceleration in pitch and chip shots.
The great thing about these little shots is that we can really accelerate fast.
In a full swing it gets harder and harder to increase acceleration through the strike because the club is already moving so fast… but with a chip shot I can go from zero to 20 mph in 8 inches.
This along with a firm grip and good cohesive body tension can not only resist the impact collision of the ball, but more importantly grass and other things getting in the way of contact.

Trying to guess how the ball is going to come off the club based upon a visual inspection of the lie is making things far too difficult. By being firm enough, and accelerating enough… we can take out most of the guess work.

The trick is learning to control distance this way. But there are good techniques for learning to do that also.

Byron goes over some common faults, talks about not quitting at the ball and not letting the left wrist break down.
He hits a bunch of shots from about 5:15 on.
At 8:10 the guy in the crowd: ‘This one’s worth a hundred.’
Three guesses as to what happens next and the first two don’t count.

My new ABSed 8-iron has a dead weight of 16.9 oz compared with 15.1 oz of my former 8-iron of many years.
I find that this 12% increase in weight makes a huge difference in cutting through grass et al. around the green.
This translates to confidence when holding that weight in your hands.
I’ve heard people say the opposite, but I don’t think they’ve really tried chipping with a heavy club.
Amazing really.

With a heavier club, you will naturally grip it firmer, just as if someone handed you a hammer compared to a pencil.
Firmer grip pressure through the strike helps out with resisting deceleration due to grass getting in the way etc.

100% agree with the hitting vs swinging short game statements made here. I’m no slouch playing off a +3 handicap and over the years I’ve prided myself in having the short game as a cornerstone of my game. As I’m getting older where less time to practice though, man you just lose the feel that is constantly needed with the swinger release in the short game. Long flowing swings with passive release work great, when you have all day to practice it. Also comes with the caveat of, when the pressure is on and you’re a little nervous that feel can also escape you. Have experienced that numerous times. Always thought it was just something you have to deal with. Been experimenting recently with some things that Lag has been talking about in this thread, but actually just through trial and error on my own without even knowing this thread existed. I find it and its the exact things I’m working on, firmer hands, little more axis tilt behind the ball, rotate forearms down into the ball and rotate body through, ball back in stance a bit, hands forward.

A similar technique is taught by James Oh, ex PGA tour player, KFT winner, US junior am champ. He has a little less hit to it, but still talks about rotation of the club, ball back, hands forward, ball first contact not just coming in with a bunch of bounce and kicking the club into the sand or turf, a really precise strike. He uses minimal bounce on his wedges aswell, like 4 degrees. Its like a surgeon, he develops his hands and trusts himself, not waiting to bounce the club wherever into the ground and hope it pops out.

Just some food for thought. But really liking these type of techniques so far.


1 Like

Great stuff Lag! I’d love to see you chipping motion at some point - I’ve found the same to be true. That is, a delicate/slow swinging or momentum strike is challenging if you’re not consistently practicing and playing. Also, you can fool yourself and really get into a groove when practicing (slow swing release), but when it comes to playing and the affects of pressure, I don’t have the same “feel” of distance/contact, as well as the turf interaction as you alluded to.