Jack Nicklaus reveals how to avoid chunking your pitch shots

Jack Nicklaus reveals how to make chunks a thing of the past.

If you devoted time in either of the last two weekends to watching The Match II or the TaylorMade Driving Relief skins game, you saw golf’s grand return to chunks. First, the No. 1 player in the world, Rory McIlroy, hit a 15-yard pitch shot approximately 3 feet. Then, Tom Brady, an 18-handicapper posing as an 8, did the same thing exactly a week later.

While the viewing public quickly laughed off both shots, they represented an interesting learning moment. The chunks affect everyone. They don’t discriminate between the best player in the world and a mid-handicapper, and they surely won’t hesitate to impact your game.

In this week’s Flashback Jack, Nicklaus reveals how to fix the chunks and clean up your short game in the process.

“It’s essential to know how to hit a short pitch shot around the greens if you want to save strokes,” Nicklaus says. “To make this happen, I use a grip totally different than I would with a chip shot or with a regular shot.”

Nicklaus recommends you give yourself a “strong” grip by turning your top hand over your bottom hand, facing the palm of your top hand toward your body.

“This allows me to be a little bit freer with the wrists and to play with more hands,” he says.

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Freedom in your wrists and hands give you a greater degree of control over your swing. This allows you to adjust to the lie and angle of your shot. Once your grip is sturdy, trust your club.

“Then I let the clubhead do the work,” Nicklaus said. “(I don’t) let the handle of the club pass the middle of my body until after impact.”

As with anything involving your short game, this shot is all about touch, but keeping the right mechanics can go a long way.

“It should help you with a lot of your shots around the green too,” Nicklaus said.


James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is a news and features editor at GOLF, writing stories for the website and magazine. He manages the Hot Mic, GOLF’s media vertical, and utilizes his on-camera experience across the brand’s platforms. Prior to joining GOLF, James graduated from Syracuse University, during which time he was a caddie scholarship recipient (and astute looper) on Long Island, where he is from. He can be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.