There’s nothing more frustrating than a bad chip, be it a skull, chunk, or dreaded double-chip. Not only do these greenside shots account for roughly 40% of the shots in a round, but they also virtually guarantee a bogey (at best). Worst of all, bad chips can shake your confidence around the green and definitely will affect your scores. With this drill, we focus on one little thing that is so simple but is often overlooked while on the course.
Some coaches preach club selection, saying low-running shots are the easiest to hit consistently. Others are more traditional and prefer a higher-lofted chip onto the green. But there’s one thing that most coaches fail to mention—probably because they think you already know it. While most of us do, in fact, already know what it is, I can’t tell you how many times I have to slow down and remind myself to visualize and select a landing point. Every time, it needs to be part of our pre-shot routine for these pesky chip shots. If you didn’t know before, it’s possibly the one thing that can show immediate results! Watch the videos below and see what I mean.
Where you land the ball informs your club selection and the type of shot you want to hit. Most golfers overlook this aspect of chipping, but it could be the key to having a more successful short game.
Rather than practicing a bunch of different shots, pick one shot and one landing spot. This will allow you to gain a better understanding of how much the ball will release every time and how hard you need to hit it to get it there.
The more you practice this, the better you will get at predicting your rollout. You know what they say: “Perfect Practice makes Perfect Results”.
Multiple golf balls, one landing spot:
To practice this, Gabriel Hjertstedt, a two-time PGA Tour winner, says to find an object like a leaf (you can put a tee or towel on the ground, too; really anything will work) as long as it helps you establish a landing spot for your chips. Hjertstedt says that picking a spot is more than just figuring out the distance your ball will release. He reads his chips like he would a putt, adjusting the landing spot for elements like break or grain.
In the video below, you’ll notice that Hjertstedt’s landing spot method helps him hit the ball within a foot or two of the hole every time—even if he doesn’t hit it in the sweet spot. That’s the beauty of focusing on your landing spot. You don’t need to hit it perfectly every time to have a general idea of how the ball is going to react once it comes back to earth.
Bonus TIP : Hjertstedt says to start small and get comfortable picking and hitting landing spots from shorter distances. And as you improve your feel, move further back. Take three balls to the practice chipping green. Start at 5–10 feet and don’t move back until you are inside a 3-foot circle on all three balls. Then move back to 10–15 feet, and so on until you make all three balls from five different locations and distances. Once you do that, you are now ready to hit the 1st tee with confidence that you can get up and down from just about anywhere off the green!