Meet Jason Palmer…the one handed chipper

Jason Palmer is a European Tour rookie with a difference

With three tournaments remaining in the 2014 Challenge Tour season Jason Palmer was in 51st spot on the Order of Merit – a place on the European Tour awaited for the top 15 players.

A wrist injury meant that the Kazakhstan Open in September, the third biggest pay day, had ended prematurely and the season looked to be tailing off.

And then it happened. 

The 30-year-old rounded off a wire-to-wire victory in China before, a week later, adding a second place in Oman. Palmer, from Kirby Muxloe in Leicester, was now up to seventh and assured of a place on the top table.

He also chips one handed…

“After Kazakhstan, which was a pretty low point, all I started to do was tap back into my form of 2013. I just needed to get back to practising effectively, drills that had served me so well, and I found my game again. 

“I had a free run at those events, I had my Challenge Tour status wrapped up so I thought I would go for it and luckily it came off.

“I was hitting it straight and I got on a couple of courses where accuracy was so important. I knew the win in China elevated me to 12th but it was very congested around that mark, I knew I wasn’t safe and I had to put the win to one side. 

“Looking back I am amazed I could hold myself together even though I was exhausted.

“Chipping was always the best part of my game. As a junior my short game was dynamite, when I first played in top amateur events my long game wasn’t up to standard but I was really sharp with my wedges.

“Maybe it was in an attempt to get my long game better but my short game slowly started to get worse. It got to an all-time low when I couldn’t fathom how to strike a chip or a pitch. 

“I tried cack-handed for a short time but it felt too restrictive and I couldn’t play all the shots, it wasn’t for me.

I had lessons from numerous people; a guy in the England set-up, local pros, fellow professionals, everyone had a different idea on how to sort it and everyone that I tried didn’t work. It might have an initial success but never for long.
“I was a hazard to my fellow golfers”
“The thins are really destructive particularly when you knife it straight across the green. 

“At one point I wouldn’t practise because if anyone else was near the vicinity of the chipping green I could wipe them out. I was a hazard to my fellow golfers. If I did practise it would be in solitude.

“I switched to one handed in the early part of the 2010 season, my first year as a pro.

“My friend Neil Chaudhuri and I were having a little pitching competition on the Alps Tour, I was shot and was at rock bottom. 

“I was hitting 14 greens and making bogeys and doubles on the other four.

“He convinced me to go one handed and I haven’t looked back since. 

When I changed I didn’t know how long it would be for, it turned out to work so much better than I thought that I have never felt the need to go back to two hands on the club. 

“You are never sure how it’s going to hold up under pressure but I have done it so many times now it just seems natural to me.

“Before, if I had a thin it would be difficult to approach the next shot without fear, I would be more than likely to over-compensate and fat it, or quit on it and thin it again. 

“If I missed a green I would immediately get a sinking feeling of ‘here we go again’ and would pray for a good lie and that there weren’t any bunkers in the way.

“My swing feels orthodox but it doesn’t look like a classic swing. I’ve got a swing that is my own and I can’t change that other than a few tweaks. But it is a hell of a lot more normal than my short game!”

What are the benefits of chipping one-handed?

“Playing a chip with one hand it really brings the bounce in and this helps now. 

“With two hands I was so bad as I played it too much with the leading edge.

“From bunkers I am largely two handed as you can play it with more speed and you can be aggressive if you have got the right set-up.

“I can’t play a flop shot with the speed of a Phil Mickelson but I can get it quite high and land it fairly soft. 

“I have to be quite shrewd with my long game and miss greens in the right spots. 

“If you are attempting a flop shot then you’ve made an error in your course management.”

When do you play one-handed??

“I struggle more with the shorter shots, the ones that require feel and touch. But I would never consider going back to two hands – the results are too destructive.

“I used to go up to 50 yards, I try now not to leave myself between 30 and 50 yards which is a bit of a grey area. 

“If I am in that range I tend to play it one handed, it depends on the shot and how I feel. 

“If I grip it with two hands I know when it’s not right and when I’m going to do something really bad.”

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