1. Hands ahead for chip with check
There are two ways of playing chip shots around the green if the lie is good from the fringe – with and without check spin. Let’s first deal with controlling the ball with a little check spin and we’ll consider the other option next time.
For check spin select the pitching wedge or sand iron – they have heavier heads and it’s easier to drop the club in behind the ball for better control.
At address, stand with your feet fairly close together and position the ball back in your stance, about three to four inches back from the centre. Ensure your hands are slightly ahead of the ball and push your knees forward (as shown in the illustration), this will promote your weight on your left foot and keep your head above the ball.
2. Take club back steeply
The previous address position will also encourage a steep back swing for the best results.
When playing the shot, grip the handle lightly towards the bottom of the rubber and take the club back steep and slow. This allows the club to return to the ball from a steep angle, eliminating the possibility of grass getting caught between clubhead and ball.
A tip I always encourage my students to adopt is to use their imagine and pretend they are chipping the ball under a low bar – a couple of feet off the ground and two or three yards ahead of them. This helps to keep hands in front of the ball through impact and encourages a steep angle of attack.
3. Follow through to keep ball under imaginary bar
Played this way, the ball will roll up the face of the club, promoting backspin and, on landing, will skid and check on the second and third bounce as it runs up to the pin.
It’s the kind of shot you will need to practice but with a little imagination, it will pay dividends in your short game and leave you shorter putts to hole – if any!
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Originally published August 2004, updated May 2013.