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Posted: May 23, 2013 7:36 p.m.

Become an expert in your short game

For many of you, your short game is an area that is in dire need of improvement.

Most people don’t realize how important the short game is in relation to your overall game. Statistics say that 60 percent of golf is played from 100 yards and in.

Most people love to practice hitting their driver on the range because its fun to see how far you can hit it.

The short game, where it may not be as fun to practice, is much more important to your overall score.

This week, I will try to tackle the topic of chipping.

First we need to define chipping because most people confuse chipping with pitching. Anytime I give a chipping lesson, I first ask the student to tell me the difference between a chip and a pitch.

I usually get the “deer in headlights” look and the student admits that they have no idea.

A chip is a low running shot that rolls farther than it carries.

A chip is not the high lofted shot that many of you see the pros play on TV.

Setup
The setup of a chip is probably the most crucial part to executing a good chip shot.

First, start with your feet just slightly narrower than shoulder width apart.

You should have approximately 60 percent of your weight on your front leg.

The ball should be positioned at the back of your stance off your back heel. Your hands need to be positioned well in front of the ball, generally even with your front leg.

Stroke
Normally I teach chipping and putting together in one lesson. This is because the motions are so similar.

In putting and chipping, the shoulders rock back and forth to allow the arms to swing. The chipping motion does not involve weight shift or wrist cock.

Probably the most important aspect to chipping is allowing your hands to lead the club head through impact. Many people make the mistake of trying to flip the club through impact to help the ball in the air which generally produces chunks and skulls.

Club Selection
Many people try to chip with only one club which I believe is the worst mistake that you could make.
I recommend using several clubs to allow for the different distances the ball needs to roll. As an idea

, I would use a sand wedge on short chips, an 8 iron on medium length chips and a 6 iron on long chips.
Using different lofted clubs allows the ball to roll either shorter or farther depending on the shot at hand.

Bryan Raines is the golf professional at Ashton Hills Golf Course and can be reached at braines@pga.com.

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