How a wine glass can improve your chipping around the greens

wine glass

If you struggle with consistent contact around the greens, try visualizing a wine glass on the face of your club.

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In my last column, I began a short series on imagery and visualization. It was fun to craft, and I was heartened at the fact that it received lots of positive feedback.

One response from a world-class downhill mountain bike racer, energized me even more. He responded to the piece and referenced the fact that he, like Arnold Palmer (who visualized how he would play Augusta National before he played it), would visualize the downhill racecourse multiple times before his competitive run. This discipline not only equipped him for the challenge of the race, it prepared him for every obstacle he would face.

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I could not help but see the parallels with a round of golf.

“Visualization. It may be the most important part of your mental package.” –Ray Floyd

The Glass of Wine

If you struggle to elevate green side shots, or battle to extricate yourself from greenside bunkers then my “wine glass” image is sure to help you. To be completely honest, I use the wine-glass image due to my penchant for a nice glass of red (along with a charcuterie and cheese board), but you can imagine whatever type of glass you wish.

How it works

If you were to balance a wine glass on the face of your lofted wedge at address, the face would have to point toward the sky. We are going to use that image throughout the swing.

First things first, set the face open before you go about gripping the club. I find too many golfers grip the club normally and then try to contort themselves in a vain effort to somehow twist the clubface open. This has a myriad of ends that are not very good, so let’s try to avoid that.

Once the clubface is set correctly, imagine that you have a glass balancing on the face of the club and make a few mini-swings back and forth without stopping. As you do this, you will get the sense of how your arms, wrists and hands need to perform in order to keep the glass from falling off the clubface.  

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Further, you will also realize that if you have excessive tilting in your body, to the left or the right, you will have a difficult time maintaining the loft on the clubface, and the wine glass would likely fall off the face. In other words, your pivot action will have to improve and, more importantly, it will support the movement of your arms and the club and enhance the arc of your golf swing.

This image is also more than likely going to help to shallow the angle of attack into the impact zone. In my experience, great chippers, pitchers and bunker players “nip the legs out from underneath the ball” (there’s another image for you) with a very shallow, sweeping blow.

Just a word to the wise, if you are really true to keeping the wine glass on the face you will find that it is difficult to accelerate sufficiently to propel the ball a long distance. Don’t worry, just see the image in your mind before you make the swing, and your brain will prepare your body for the task upcoming. 

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Golf.com Contributor

On-course announcer and analyst Mark Immelman is passionate about the game of golf. As a decorated instructor, award-winning NCAA college golf coach, and an accomplished golfer, Mark brings a robust knowledge and vast experience to his role as a television broadcaster and golf instructor. He is currently a Golf Analyst for CBS Sports HQ, and an Analyst and On-course Announcer for CBS Sports and Golf on CBS. He currently also serves as a Studio Analyst and an On-course Announcer for PGA TOUR Live  for PGA TOUR Live.

The older brother to 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman, Mark grew up in Somerset West, South Africa. After a successful amateur career in South Africa he was offered a golf scholarship to Columbus State University (Columbus , GA). He enjoyed a prolific collegiate tenure highlighted by his four-time All-America selections, two-time Academic All-America awards, and two NCAA Div. II National Championship victories. After graduation, Mark had a short season as a playing professional, but quickly turned his attention to his true passion – golf teaching.

As a golf instructor, Mark believes in cultivating ability and talent by providing comprehensive, holistic golf instruction that is easily understandable and of the highest quality to golfers of all abilities and skill levels. His passionate approach and keen knowledge of the game have led to him being a sought-after mind by leading Professional and Amateur golfers alike. Through his career he has taught and/or consulted to PGA TOUR and European Tour professionals and tournament winners such as: Larry Mize, Loren Roberts, Trevor Immelman, Scott Brown, Patton Kizzire, Louis Oosthuizen and Will Wilcox. He has been recognized as one of “Golf Digest’s Top 20 Instructors Under 40”, Golf Digest’s “Best Teachers in the State of Georgia” and Georgia Trend Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40 – Georgia’s Best and Brightest”.

As a NCAA College Coach at Columbus State University (since 2001) Mark continues to coach the Columbus State Men’s Golf Team and his program is a perennial contender for Conference and National Titles. He is a two-time NCAA Div. II Atlantic/Southeast Region Coach of the Year, two-time Peachbelt Conference Coach of the Year, and the 2009 NCAA Div. II National Coach of the Year.

In 2019 Mark was selected as Captain and Coach of the (Arnold) Palmer Cup International Team. His team triumphed over the United States Team in the Palmer Cup Matches held at The Alotian Club outside of Little Rock, AR.

Mark’s additional broadcast duties include being a guest analyst on the CBS Sports “First Cut Podcast”. CBS Sports also uses Mark’s unique voice for audio and promotional PGA TOUR advertisements and promotional reads.

He has also served a 6-year tenure as a Play-by-Play Announcer for Sirius/XM PGA TOUR Radio.

Additionally, Mark hosts “On the Mark”, a PGA TOUR Podcast, which to date has been downloaded more than 3 million times in more than 125 countries.

He has also written golf instructional columns and articles for Golf Digest SA, Golf Digest USA and is currently penning instructional pieces for Golf Magazine. As an author, Mark has published two e-Books on golf instruction: “Scandalously SImple – The Easy Way to Accurate Golf Shots” and “Golf is a Game of Recovery”.

You can learn more about at MarkImmelman.com