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Improve Your Chipping with a Yardstick

December 26, 2013

A $.68 Investment Can Help Your Chipping

Do you know the difference between a chip shot and a pitch shot?  The chip shot, normally performed close to the green, travels mostly on the ground rather than through the air.  The shot isn’t about height, it’s about getting the ball on the green as quick as possible – essentially it’s like putting but with a 7 iron.The pitch shot, on the other hand, uses a regular full-body golf swing, lofts the ball into the air and is generally used from more than 15 yards from the green.

If you are anything like the students I teach, they use one club in their bag for chipping.  Can you guess which one?  It’s the pitching wedge!  If you are like my students, I have a great drill you can practice at home that’ll improve your short game when spring comes around.  All you need are 3 things:  a piece of shag carpet that will simulate grass around the greens (short carpet or astrotuf is too tight of a lie), a $.68 yardstick from your local hardware store and a 7 iron.

Yardstick Chipping Drill

Eric is showing us the proper form when chipping. Note: Eric is left-handed.

Let’s get started with the drill:

1)  Lay the yardstick on the carpet in line to the target.

2)  Pretend the end of the yardstick is the ball.

3)  Put the “ball” in the back of your stance.

4) Keep the handle and shaft leaning forward, ahead of the ball

5)  Using a shoulder motion and limited wrists like you would with a putt, hit the end of the yardstick.

6)  The yardstick should just slide against the ground.

If you see the yardstick get air born, or worse yet, the ruler flips completely over – you are using your wrists too much.  Practice this over and over until you consistently slide the yardstick against the ground when you hit it.  So for an investment of $ .68 and some practice, you will learn to keep the ball low and have it coming off the club face properly.

Eric Chiles is our 2013 Minnesota PGA Section Teacher of the Year and is the Director of Instruction at Chaska Town Course.  Eric has a passion for helping his students and since 1996, Eric estimates he has taught over 8,000 students.  He uses a secret that Hank Haney shared with him to continue to be successful “A student doesn’t know how much you know until they know how much you care”.  

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