Short Game

Phil Mickelson: 3 common chipping mistakes to avoid

As a six-time major champion, Phil Mickelson is one of the greatest golfers ever.

While he has an all-around game that’s unmatched by many of his peers, he has particularly excelled at the short game, where he’s pulled off shots that many other players would’ve quivered over. To say amateurs should take heed of his advice is a bit of an understatement.

GOLF’s Claire Rogers recently asked Mickelson for the advice he’d give amateurs who are looking to sure up their chipping. You can watch Mickelson for yourself in the video above, or check out his tips in the explainer below.

Phil Mickelson’s chipping tips

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Mickelson says that there are three things you need to do to become more successful while chipping — adding that many amateurs don’t do any of them.

1. Weight distribution

To make sure you get the desired bounce from the club while chipping, Mickelson starts with a basic (but essential) tip to chip successfully — keep your weight forward, avoiding the urge to lean back.

“Leaning forward helps drive the club down into the ground,” Mickelson says. “Most people chip with their weight back.”

2. Keep your hands back

Another common mistake most amateurs make while chipping, Mickelson says, is using their hands improperly.

“You can’t have your hands back. Once your club passes your arm, the leading edge is coming up, and the bounce is being added — so the club is going to hit the ground.”

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3. Ball position

Lastly, Mickelson says many weekend players botch their ball position.

“This is where most amateurs really mess up,” Mickelson says. “You have to make a decision on whether you’re going to go low or high. Go low, and you’re going to have the ball off your back foot. If you go high, it’s going to be off your front foot.

“If you put the ball in the middle of your stance, you can’t get enough weight forward to hit it low enough, and you can’t get enough club to get [the ball] up, so people try to help it with their hands. That causes the leading edge to come up, and it goes right into the ball.”

To practice each of the three tips above, Mickelson says, take a few swings with just one arm.

“When you chip one-armed, if your hands are back, the club will be back and flippy. But if you set up with your weight forward and your arm’s ahead, [the club] will naturally want to go down and through underneath the ball.”

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