Chipping yips are an affliction as old as time and as frustrating as any within the game of golf. The prickly discord between mind and body we call “yips” is so taboo, many players are afraid to use the word in public.
On this week’s Flashback Jack, Nicklaus explains the origins of one kind of chipping yips—the medium pitch shot—and breaks down how to fix them.
“There are quite a few ways that the average golfer has trouble with the middle length pitch shot,” Nicklaus says. “I think the most common is that it takes too full a swing and eases off into the shot, resulting in the inability to spin the ball or inability to control the ball being aggressive.”
The medium-length shot is a brutal one. Players are forced to rely upon feel without sacrificing their tempo or swing. Nicklaus says, if you’ve had problems with this before, your focus should be twofold.
“Well first of all, you need to get clubhead speed to get spin,” he says. “Secondly, he doesn’t want the ball to go very far, so he needs to reduce the length of the club by going down the shaft.”
First, keep your swing and tempo consistent with that of a full-length shot. Then, choke down on the club to keep the distance short. Keep those keys in mind while standing over your next mid-length pitch shot, and your yips will fade into the past.
“This combination, along with quick feet and your head right over the ball, should produce a nice, crisp middle-length wedge shot for better control,” Nicklaus says.