How changing your ball position can instantly improve your chipping
Do you always grab the same club when you’re faced with a greenside chip? And how about ball position — do you always place your ball in the exact same spot of your stance when you chip? Learning how moving your ball up and back in your stance can change the reaction of the ball off the club face is an important acquired skill, and will enable you to make your ball sit, move and run. Here’s how three standard ball positions will affect your ball flight.
Your home-base chipping set up should be your go-to ball position, especially if you’re a beginner, because it will help you create some consistency. That ball position should be in the very middle of your stance. Where’s the middle? Directly below your belt buckle or belly button. A nice way to create this setup is to address the ball with your feet together and the ball in the center of your feet, then take two equidistant steps apart to find the middle.
This centered ball position will allow you to make the ball “move” (i.e., have a nice pace) toward your intended target.
Play it forward
By placing the ball forward in your stance toward your target foot, the club will make contact with the ball with more loft on the club face, causing your ball to go a little higher and “sit” a little sooner. This ball position will work well if you have very little green to work with and you are looking to get your ball to stop more abruptly on the green. A forward ball position is also helpful when you need your ball to carry an obstacle or go higher.
Play it back
By moving the ball position toward your non-target foot, you will hit the ball more on the downswing with less loft on your club face. Less loft will help you clip the ball more easily and will make your ball “run” more. This ball position works well when you have a lot of green to work with and/or the pin is in the back of the green.
The key to using any of these ball positions is practice! So go ahead and head to the short game area. Try hitting a few different chip shots moving your ball from the home base/middle position of your stance to the front and then to the back using the same club. Then change clubs and do it again. See how the ball reacts and how far the ball rolls out with each club and ball position change.
Learning how to manipulate your wedges and other clubs around the greens will enable you to have more shots in your bag, and you’ll be able to react well when the golf course gives you different lies and pin placements.
Some general chipping keys
-The smaller the shot, the smaller your setup/stance should be.
-Grip down on the golf club. By doing so, you will be able to have more control over the movement of the club.
-Place a little extra weight on your target foot to help stabilize your lower body.
-Relax and soften your hands and arms to create a smoother chipping motion.
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