Want to tighten up your short game? Try chip-putting

Tiger Woods chips onto the 9th green during his second round on the day 2 of The 150th British Open Golf Championship on The Old Course at St Andrews in Scotland on July 15, 2022

Chip-putting is an easy way to sharpen your short game.

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — At this year’s Top 100 Teacher Retreat at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, Ariz., the world’s best instruction minds are gathered to learn from each other and share ideas in a jam-packed itinerary that spans two days.

Having so many top teachers in one place is a real boon for the GOLF staffers onsite, allowing us ample opportunity to pose some of our most burning questions about game improvement.

One topic at top of mind for me lately? The short game — namely, chipping. What’s one thing I should always keep in mind to maximize my scoring potential on shots around the green? I asked Top 100 Teacher Lou Guzzi for his opinion.

“Try to chip without so much loft on the club,” he said. “Meaning, every opportunity that you get to hit a low chip, keep the ball down as much as possible, keep as much spin off the ball as possible, and you’re gonna get more consistency.”

One shot that Guzzi recommends adding to your arsenal to achieve that consistency? The chip-putt.

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“That’s what the tour players do,” he said. “They chip-putt a lot, and that means they use their putting-stroke motion with their wedges, their 8-irons, their 6-irons. And then because they’re using their putting technique when they’re chipping, the ball comes off the face softer, they keep it down, they get more consistency, they knock it closer to the hole and, of course, in the end, lower their scores.”

Part of the allure of the chip-putt is the fact that you’re keeping the ball on the ground as much as possible, eschewing your regular default sand wedge club selection in favor of a club with lower loft and trajectory potential.

“If you go to Augusta National, you’ll see the best players in the world chipping with hybrids around the greens,” Guzzi said. “They hit a lot of bump-and-runs where they utilize the hills and hit the balls into the hills instead of the hill becoming a big issue. It ends up becoming your best friend because you can hit a little bump-and-run into the hill and then allow the ball to just roll from there.”

Despite the seeming simplicity of Guzzi’s advice, I wondered about its limitations. What is the maximum yardage can you expect to have in order to utilize this technique? According to Guzzi, that’s where practice comes in.

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“If you think about making a longer putting stroke, try using that stroke with your irons and see what the carry is on each,” he said. “The distance will vary from player to player, but you can easily create your own yardage database with this technique.

“For example, if a 9-iron with my longest putting stroke carries 20 yards in the air, then I know,” Guzzi continued. “Take notes because once you have a feel for something, even if you hit a bad shot and that ball carries, pay attention to where it carried. It might not have been the shot you wanted, but there’s a yardage for that shot. Every shot you hit, as long as it’s a good solid shot, you should take some information on what you just did.”

Give Guzzi’s chip-putt technique a try on your next round, and sharpen up your short game with me! And to read more tips from Lou Guzzi, click here.

Golf.com Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

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