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Master The Lofted Chip Shot

Knowing how to chip with loft is a vital skill to be good at as it is often required when you miss the green right or left. In this video PGA professional Jack Backhouse details a road map for you to build a reputation for Spanish hands around the greens.

 

Stats geeks (Hannah Holden) often tell us to chip with less loft, but when you miss the green pin high left or right, this just isn’t possible due to bunkers or elevation changes to navigate over. In the video below, PGA Professional Jack Backhouse explains the most common faults plaguing amateur golfers and how to fix them.

Why do we need to be good at the lofted chip shot?

Before we get into this, I want it out in the open that I am a big believer in a ‘low loft first’ short-game strategy, where you ideally would use the lowest lofted club reasonably in any situation, as this is the best way to take fewer shots around the greens. Now, I also admit that sometimes this is just not possible, and you need to be able to use a club with aloft to carry some rough, a bunker, a ditch, etc.

It is also true that most professional golfers opt for using their most lofted wedge for nearly every shot around the greens, as you are able to hit this club high and low with ease, so it does offer some versatility. The strategy is that if you use the same club for literally every situation, it becomes a third arm, and your touch and feel with the club increases.

Common faults

There are 3 common issues I see in the poorest chippers that stop them from delivering the club in a functional way to hit a good lofted chip. They are:

  • Clubface too closed. If you want to stop chunking chips, you need to address this. A shut face exposes the leading edge, encourages too much shaft lean, and makes the golf club dig into the ground.
  • Being too stiff-wristed. In order to hit a high-soft landing shot, you need softer wrists to allow the club to open up, add loft, and release under the ball. Having wrists that are too firm will lead to chunking chip shots and thinning them.
  • Keep your head down, and do not move your body. Being dynamic in your movement will help move the low point of your swing in front of the ball, hitting the ground after the ball.
closed face chipping

What does a good chipping technique look like with a lofted wedge?

We now know what the common faults are, but what do the best chippers do that allows them to make such great contact with the ball and hit it close every time?

  • They have a narrow stance, a neutral ball position, and a relaxed address. They have soft arms and soft knees.
  • They remove the club with a wrist hinge and let the face open up so that the grooves on the wedge face are at least 90 degrees to the sky, if not more open.
  • As they swing the club back, the upper body moves forward ahead of the ball, so the low point moves ahead of the ball to guarantee a solid strike.
  • They stand up through the strike, releasing their soft wrists and finish tall
patrick reed open face

Drills

Drills are the best way to work on improving your technique, and drills that allow you to hit the ball towards a target, just like a real shot. There are 3 drills I commonly use with players to help them speed up their improvement and get them out on the course making up and downs:

  • Right-hand only drill. This one is great because you have less control of the club, with it only supported in one hand. It forces you to use your wrists better and move your body through the shot. Hitting a few with your trail hand only and then returning to both-hand shots makes chipping feel really easy.
  • The two-finger drill. Holding the club normally in your lead hand, grip the club with just the thumb and forefinger of the trail hand. This, again, gives you less control, helps promote a softer wristed backswing, and gives a good feeling for opening the face up.
  • Pause drill. This is a drill where you stop at the end of your backswing, check that the club is hinged up and open in the face, and then swing down. Checking your position is correct before hitting the ball gives you a better feel of where you should be hitting from.

Working these 3 drills into your short game practice will help improve your golf scores, and your chipping and short pitch shots.

thumb and forefinger drill

If you want to watch some more of Jack’s swing tips instruction videos, you can get to his YouTube Technique Tips playlist by clicking here. Please check out our other instruction articles if you liked this golf swing transition article!

If you are interested in seeking further information from Jack that is more specific to your golf game, you can book an in-person or online golf lesson by clicking here.

Jack Backhouse

Callaway Epic Max driver review

Jack is a PGA Golf Professional who specialises in coaching, teaching golf to beginners and top-level amateurs for 10+ years. He also loves his golf equipment and analysing the data of the latest clubs on the market using launch monitors, specialising in blade irons and low-spinning drivers despite having a chronically low ball flight.

Although Jack has no formal journalism training, He has been reading What's In The Bag articles since he started playing at 12 and studying golf swings since his dad first filmed his swing to reveal one of the worst over-the-top slice swings he reckons has ever been recorded, which set him off on the path to be a coach. His favourite club ever owned was a Ping G10 driver bought from a local top amateur with the hope that some of the quality golf shots would come with it (they didn't), and worst was a Nike SQ driver he only bought because Tiger was using it.

Jack is a member of Sand Moor Golf Club and regularly gets out on the golf course to prepare for tournaments. Jack uses a TaylorMade BRNR Mini driver, a half set of TaylorMade P7MB irons, MG4 wedges and a TaylorMade TP Reserve putter.

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