A headcover drill to help you hit consistent, on-target chip shots

Here's an easy drill to tune-up your short game.

Stephen Denton

A common error I see with most players is the assumption that pitch and chip shots are just smaller versions of the full swing. That isn’t the case. In a full swing, the goal is to create lag in the hands for an explosive release through impact. If you do the same on a short shot, things get ugly real fast. Because the swing arc is shorter and slower on a pitch or chip, releasing the hands happens far too late in the downswing when you try to create lag.

This also explains why weekend players tend to pull their chips and/or hit them fat or thin. Adding lag to your chips exposes the leading edge of the wedge too much, causing you to dig into instead of glide across the turf.

On short swings, your goal is to throw your hands out sooner in the downswing to better engage the sole’s bounce angle and sweep underneath the ball without excessive digging. An easy way to learn the correct feel is to place a headcover over your wedge and make a pitch swing. As you transition from backswing to downswing, engage your hands and try to toss the headcover off your wedge. This hand release action will help lessen the lag in your short-shot swings for better contact and nix your tendency to pull your chips and pitches to the left.

Jason Birnbaum is the director of instruction at Manhattan Woods GC in West Nyack, N.Y.

Stephen Denton

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