Golf Skills and The Importance Of Practice (P4)
Whatever club you’ve selected for this chip, set the angle of the shaft so it is more vertical and resembles the upright angle of your putter. When you address the ball, the club should rest more on the toe than it would for a full shot. The grip end of the club should be pointing towards the middle of your body, and your weight should be evenly distributed between the balls of your feet and the heels. Bear in mind that a chip is very much a “one-lever” stroke. Ken Venturi, who had one of the best short games in history, likes to tell people to imagine their hands were molded together in a cast when chipping. Almost everyone agrees that you want to grip the club lightly, since this helps promote better feel. And always try to keep the back of your left or top hand moving on a line parallel to the target line. This will help keep the clubface square to the target.
The basics of good pitching mirror those of chipping. Employ your full-swing grip with a light grip pressure and play from a slightly open stance. A slightly open stance pre-clears your hips and helps you deliver the club directly along the target line. What varies when hitting a pitch shot is the ball position, both in your stance and relative to the position of your hands at address and impact. If you have a tight lie off closecropped grass, or a poor lie in the rough, you need to play the shot with your hands slightly ahead of the ball, with the ball back slightly in your stance. This will cause the ball to fly on a lower trajectory and run farther. As the lie improves, you can position the ball more towards the middle of your stance, with your hands either even with the ball or fractionally behind. This will allow you to employ the full loft of the club. Given a consistent ball position, the more you position your hands behind the ball, the more effective loft you add to the club, the higher the ball will fly and the softer it will land.
The two main factors in putting are distance control, which is determined by the backward and forward swing of the club, and direction, which is determined by where the clubface is pointing at impact. At address, your ankle joints should be under your shoulders. Push your hips back and up and let your arms hang naturally from your shoulders. Your eyes should be directly over the ball since placement is crucial to help ensure solid contact. As with other shots the best way to aim the ball properly is to pick out an intermediate target on your target line a foot or two ahead of the ball. Align the blade of your putter and the ball to this target. Your grip should be light and comfortable and needs to provide control and accuracy. Unlike the fullswing grip, there are a variety of ways to grip the putter that range from a split grip with hands apart to a crosshanded grip. Whatever is most comfortable for you and allows your hands to work together is the best grip for you.