Short game skills are what separates the winners from everyone else in all the major golf tournaments.
Seve Ballesteros once rated the greatest short game player ever, spent hours practicing impossible chip shots that he would never use.
If you find that you’re the laughing stock of the 19th hole nine times out of ten, chances are you could benefit from these chipping drills.
Don’t knock them ’til you’ve tried them.
WHY PRACTICE CHIPPING DRILLS?
To paraphrase renowned golfer, Gary Player, the main reason to practice chipping is simply, ‘the harder you practice the luckier you’ll get’.
Truth is, not everyone can hit the ball for miles. However, everyone can play a good short game. It doesn’t take any special physical skills, all it takes is practice.
Out on the course, golf is full of unknown challenges. By working on what you can control you narrow the odds in your favor every time.
Try some of these golf chipping drills in your spare time and you’ll see the results on your scorecard after your next game.
1. Y OR TRIANGLE DRILL
The first thing to work on is the basics. Mastering this drill will make the others a lot easier. it’s also one of the best chipping tips you’ll ever get.
Grab a club an let’s get started. The first thing you want to do is get hold of the club so that you create a lower-case y-shape with the shaft of your club and your arms.
You want to keep this shape throughout your swing, keeping most of your weight on your front foot and using your upper body to create movement. Keep your arms and wrists in position throughout.
This technique ensures that you are hitting the ball with a downward stroke, using the club to loft it into the air.
It may seem awkward at first, but this technique produces a more controlled, lower chip shot that will save you strokes around the green.
2. HULA HOOP DRILL
Once you’ve mastered how to hit a chip shot, you can start to focus on aspects like direction and distance.
This is one drill that you can try at home, at the driving range or at a local park.
To set up, place a hula hoop or mark out a similar sized circle with string. Place 8 golf balls at 5-yard intervals from the ring.
Starting with the ball closest to the hoop, try to chip each one so that it lands within the hoop. Each time you get a ball in, move to the next furthest ball.
Every time you miss, start over again from the beginning. Don’t quit until you can get all 8 balls into the hoop one after the other.
3. CHIP-A-COIN DRILL
Here’s one for those rainy days when hitting the course is out of the question.
Place a few coins on your living room carpet and have a go at them with an old wedge.
Try to send the coins cleanly into the air, or try to sink them in a strategically placed plastic cup.
After a few hours of this, hitting a golf ball is a cinch.
4. 10 X 10 DRILL
This is one of the most important practice drills you can do. If you think about it, most of your golf game involves trying to hit the pin from 100 yards or closer.
So, when you head off to the driving range, that’s what you should do. By all means have a go at working on your drive, but your focus should be closer in.
Use the markers on the driving range to practice your short game shots.
Preferably, find a big open area an mark off 10-yard intervals. Try to carry your shots exact distances to align with each marker.
5. SLAM DUNK DRILL
The slam dunk drill is a fun way to practice after your round of golf. It’s even better if you can get your playing buddies to join in.
Pick a distance from 10 – 30 yards away and try to slam dunk the ball straight into the cup.
6. CHAIR DRILL
Here’s another rainy-day practice session for golf addicts.
For this drill, you’re going to use a living room chair as the target. Most of these types of chairs have three zones to aim at – the bottom, the cushion, and the back.
Using a gap wedge, set your ball down 3 to 6 feet from the chair and aim at each zone.
Practice changing your stance and your swing to control where the ball goes.
As you move forward in your stance the ball should loft higher, shift your weight back and it will fly lower. Practice with different clubs and stances until you can get it right every time.
Arnold Palmer once defined concentration as, “focusing totally … and commanding your body to do exactly what you want it to do.”
You’ll soon pick up how to control your trajectory, which is a skill that comes in real handy on the golf course.
7. TRAIL HAND RELEASE DRILL
If you’re still suffering from the ”yips” after all these drills, try this tip from the legendary coach, Bruce Harmon.
The yips happens when your putting stroke suffers because you’re trying to help the golf ball into the air. This drill will teach you to let the clubface do the work instead.
Here’s how it works:
Prepare to chip the ball with your usual y-stance and make your usual stroke.
Just before impact, drop your trail hand off the grip but keep your lead arm swinging towards the target.