How To Chip With Confidence

If you’re No. 1 in greens in regulation on the LPGA Tour like Jin Young Ko was in 2018, you might not need to spend a lot of time chipping. Unfortunately, most amateurs hit fewer than six greens in regulation each round, so having better short-game skills should be a focal point of practice, says Ko, the LPGA Rookie of the Year. “Amateurs I’ve played with don’t think about whether the shot should run or if it should land soft,” she says. “They just try to get it on the green any way they can.” That’s no way to approach these situations, says Jorge Parada, one of Golf Digest’s Best Young Teachers and director of instruction at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. With the help of Ko demonstrating, Parada will teach you two basic chips that will cover the majority of lies you face around the greens. The best part? The adjustments to hit both are fairly simple. Read on to expand your greenside options.

The Low-Running Chip

Set Up in Front Of The Ball

When trying to bump the ball onto the green and get it running, a big fault is tilting the shoulders back,” Parada says. “The left shoulder gets high and the chest leans back. This negates moving the ball back in your stance to hit it lower. It causes chunks.” Instead, Parada says to feel like the sternum and chin are ahead of the golf ball and the left shoulder is level to the right shoulder at address. Just like Ko is demonstrating here, keep your upper body from drifting away from the green as you swing.

The High-And-Soft Chip

Keep The Shaft Vertical

“A mistake when hitting a chip high and soft is setting up with the hands too far forward. That causes the ball to come off lower and hotter,” Parada says. Instead, play the ball off your front foot, set the shaft so it’s pointing near your belly button, and don’t lean the shaft toward the green when you swing. “The chest rotates, the hips are passive, and the clubhead passes the hands through impact,” Parada says. “Jin Young might not hit a lot of chips during a round, but she knows what she’s doing here.”

14 Statistics from the PGA Tour in 2018

Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but in a sports world driven by analytics, they can certainly tell part of it. Last year on the PGA Tour, a few statistics said a lot about the seasons of some of the best players in the world, some good, some bad, but all telling. Here are 14 numbers that

11 — Number of players who ended win droughts of at least at 4½ years on the tour. They are as follows, from longest dry spell to shortest: Charles Howell III (11 years, 9 months), Paul Casey (8 years, 11 months), Kevin Na (7 years, 9 months), Keegan Bradley (6 years, 1 month), Ted Potter, Jr. (5 years, 7 months), Ian Poulter (5 years, 5 months), Tiger Woods (5 years, 1 month), Phil Mickelson (4 years, 8 months), Webb Simpson (4 years, 7 months), Matt Kuchar (4 years, 7 months) and Gary Woodland (4 years, 6 months). Lee Westwood also ended a victory drought of 4 years and 7 months on the European Tour at the Nedbank Challenge. Westwood’s last PGA Tour win came at the 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic.

11 — Number of top-10 finishes without a victory for Tony Finau. The 29-year-old became the first golfer to have at least 11 top-10s and no wins since Jim Furyk, who did the same in both 2014 and 2009. In the last 20 years, only five other players have done that: David Toms in 2002 (12 top-10s), Vijay Singh in 2001 (14), Steve Flesch in 2000 (13), Chris Perry in 1999 (14) and Davis Love III in 1999 (13).

11 — Number of first-time winners on the PGA Tour last season: Ryan Armour, Patrick Cantlay, Patton Kizzire, Austin Cook, Brice Garnett, Satoshi Kodaira, Andrew Landry, Aaron Wise, Michael Kim, Francesco Molinari and Andrew Putnam. (Apparently, 11s were wild on tour in 2018.)

32.5 — Average number of spots Tiger Woods jumped in the Official World Golf Ranking after each event he played beginning with the 2017 Hero World Challenge and ending with the 2018 Hero. Woods entered the 2017 Hero at 674th in the world and has climbed all the way to his current 13th spot.

4.57 — Tiger Woods’ par-5 scoring average. The number matches the worst mark in Woods’ career; in 2013 he also had a 4.57 average. However that year it was good enough to tie him for fourth on tour. This year, that mark tied him for 24th, by far the worst standing of his career in the category. Prior to this season, Woods had never finished worse than T-6 for a season in par-5 scoring average. In nine of his first 10 seasons on tour, he finished first, including eight straight to start his career.

9 — Number of times the World No. 1 ranking changed hands in 2018, the most times since the ranking’s inception in 1986. The previous record was 7 in 1997 and 2012. The four players who passed it around? Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka, who currently holds the title.

$451,704.33 — Average amount of money Justin Rose made per start on the PGA Tour this season, not including the $10 million FedEx Cup prize. If you include that, he made $1,007,259.89 per start.

278.9 — Average driving distance in yards in 2018 for Brian Stuard, who ranked dead last in that statistic among the 193 players that qualified. Averaging 300 yards on the nose didn’t even get you in the top 50 last season. In 1998, 300 yards would have ranked first on the PGA Tour, and 278 would put you in the top 30.

75.3 — The field scoring average on Saturday at the U.S. Open, a day in which 19 players shot 78 or worse at Shinnecock Hills.

98.78 — Jordan Spieth’s percentage of made putts from three feet. It might sound good, but it actually ranked 181st on tour last year. His performance from close proximity was in line with his overall putting for the season, as he finished a career-low 123rd in strokes-gained/putting. Still, he managed to nearly shoot 63 on Sunday at Augusta (if not for missing a short putt at the 72nd) and amass nearly $3 million in earnings for the year. Players have had much worse “down” years, to say the least.

2.372 — Average total strokes-gained against the field per round for Dustin Johnson, who lead the PGA Tour in that category this season. Since 2004, only three players have eclipsed that number in a season: Tiger Woods (five times: 2004-2007, 2009), Jim Furyk (2006) and Rory McIlroy (2012).

0 — Combined major victories for the three players with the best cumulative scores to par in the major championships for the season. Justin Rose lead the way at 12 under, Rickie Fowler came in second at 11 under and Tony Finau in third at nine under. In fourth? Francesco Molinari, who finished the majors with a cumulative score of eight under, his winning score at Carnoustie, meaning he played the other three in even par. Brooks Koepka missed the Masters due to injury, but was 13 under in the other three; Masters champ Patrick Reed missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but was 11 under in the remaining majors.

68.00 — Saturday scoring average for both Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, tying them for first overall on the PGA Tour. Each, however, had just one victory, and though both were impressive (Woods’ 80th career W at the Tour Championship, Rory’s Sunday charge at Bay Hill), they probably both think they could have had more. Their Sunday scoring averages played a role in that, with Woods’ dropping nearly two strokes to 69.75 (41st on tour) and McIlroy’s two full strokes to 70.00 (T-54 on tour).

68.27 — Final-round scoring average for Brooks Koepka, the third-lowest of any player who played at least 15 final rounds in a season on tour since 2001. The two lower players? Tiger Woods in 2002 with an average of 67.71, and Luke Donald in 2011 with an average of 68.06.


9 Changes in the New Rules of Golf for 2019

As Jan. 1 approaches, it’s time to consider what New Year’s resolutions you’ll be making to help your golf game in 2019. For those who haven’t come up with any, here’s a suggestion: Learn the Rules of Golf. (No, really learn them this time.) Perhaps you’ve tried, only to find that by February, the copy of the rules book you picked up is covered with as much dust as that Peloton you bought to get into shape. Yet here’s the thing: There’s no better time than now to give it another shot because a new, modernized version of the rules goes into effect on New Year’s Day.

In the most sweeping revision in more than 60 years, officials from the USGA and R&A, golf’s governing bodies, have reorganized the rules to make them easier to understand and apply. The number has been cut to 24 from 34, and the language simplified to make it more practical. Roughly 2 million copies of the Player’s Edition of the Rules of Golfwere published and circulated this fall. If you haven’t gotten one, you can find it online at, as well as with explanatory videos at The free USGA Rules of Golf app has been updated, too.

To help you keep this resolution, here are nine changes to the new rules you should know.

I. Accidents happen
The controversy over Dustin Johnson’s ball moving on the green during the final round of the 2016 U.S. Open exposed the old rules for being too harsh when it came to what many considered tickytack infractions. New language, first adopted through Local Rules since 2017, states there is no penalty if you accidentally move your ball (or ball marker) on the green. Put the ball back, and you’re good to go. The same applies if you’re searching for a lost ball and mistakenly move it.

II. The fix is in
Golfers often complained about the silliness of letting players fix a ball mark on the green, but not a spike mark. What’s the difference? With no good answer, officials now will let you fix everything without a penalty. You can also touch the line of your putt with your hand or club so long as you’re not improving it.

III. A lost cause
To improve pace of play, golfers now have just three minutes to search for a missing ball rather than five. Admit it, if you hadn’t found it in three minutes, you weren’t finding it anyway.

IV. Knee is the new shoulder
The process for dropping a ball back in play is revamped in the new rules. Instead of letting go from shoulder height, players will drop from around their knee. This is a compromise from an original proposal that would have let golfers drop from just inches above the ground. To preserve some randomness with the drop, officials went with knee height instead. Why change at all? Primarily to speed up play by increasing the chances your ball stays within the two-club-length drop area on the first try.

V. No longer at touchy subject
Hitting a ball into a water hazard (now defined as “penalty area”) should come with consequences. But golfers don’t have to be nervous about incurring an additional penalty for a minor rules breach while playing their next shot. You’re free to touch/move loose impediments and ground your club, eliminating any unnecessary worry. The only caveat: You still can’t put your club down and use it to improve the conditions for the stroke. You can remove loose impediments in bunkers, too, although touching the sand in a bunker in front of or behind the ball is still prohibited.

VI. Damaged goods
We all get mad on the course, and sometimes that anger is taken out on an unsuspecting driver or putter. Previously, the rules were confusing on when or if you could play a club you damaged during a round, and it led to instances where some players were disqualified for playing clubs with a shaft slightly bent or some other damage they didn’t realize the club had. Now you can play a club that has become damaged in any fashion. If you caused the damage, however, you can’t replace the club with a new one.

VII. Twice is … OK
A double hit is almost always accidental, and the outcome so random as to hardly be beneficial. So golfers are now spared the ignominy of adding a penalty for hitting a ball twice with one swing. It counts as only one stroke. Somewhere T.C. Chen is smiling.

VIII. The end of flagstick folly
Another nod to common sense eliminates a penalty for hitting a flagstick left in the hole while putting on a green. Taking out and then placing back in flagsticks can often cause undo delay in the round, and the flagstick is as likely to keep your ball out of the cup as it would help it fall in.

IX. O.B. option
Courses may implement a Local Rule (not for competition) that offers an alternative to the stroke-and-distance penalty for lost balls or shots hit out-of-bounds. A player may drop a ball anywhere between where the original ball was believed to come to rest (or went out-of-bounds) and just into the edge of the fairway, but no nearer the hole. The golfer takes a two-stroke penalty and plays on instead of returning to the tee. This way, the Local Rule mimics your score if you had played a decent provisional ball.



PGA of American HQ Officially Relocates to Texas

Following months of speculation, the PGA of America officially announced its headquarters are relocating to Frisco, Texas. The organization, currently based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., will anchor a 600-acre, mixed-use development.

“Our move to Frisco will be transcendent for the PGA of America,” Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA of America, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Everything great starts with a dream. This is the beginning of a bold, new journey as we bring together world-class partners in a world-class location—to deliver innovative and differentiated experiences for our nearly 29,000 PGA Golf Professionals, golfers of all abilities and our staff.”

As outlined in the initial reports, the new headquarters will have two championship courses. Under the PGA of America’s agreement with the Frisco City Council, the PGA will bring two PGA Championships, two KPMG Women’s PGA Championships and, potentially, a Ryder Cup to the site. The golf course is expected to open in the summer of 2022.

Other parts of the development will feature a short course and practice area, a clubhouse, Class AA office space, a 500-room Omni resort and 127,000-square-foot conference center, a retail village and a park.

The PGA of America estimates the project will have an initial public-private $520 million investment. The PGA of America will invest $30 million to build its 100,000-square-foot global headquarters and education facility. Omni Stillwater Woods, a joint venture led by Omni Hotels & Resorts with Stillwater Capital and Woods Capital, is expected to pour in $455 million for land, construction, retail space and the golf courses.

The initial 25-year agreement calls for the land and conference center to be publicly owned by the City of Frisco and operated by OSW, which will pay $100,000 a year in rent to the city. The golf courses, clubhouse, practice areas and associated public facilities will be owned by the city, with the golf facilities open to local high school golfers.


The Wisdom of Jack

No golfer’s words carry more heft than those of Nicklaus, evidenced in part by the gentle squeak with which he delivered them. Low volume and lilting with a touch of Oh-hi-oh, when the Bear talks, everybody listens. Here are 28 of his most enduring lessons.

Twenty majors if you count his two U.S. Amateurs, in stone the winner for all time. Champions great and small have sought his counsel in clubhouses and terraces across the world. Nicklaus started writing for Golf Digest in the early 1970s. What follows are some of his most enduring words that have appeared in our magazine across four decades. —Max Adler

Learn, practice and trust one basic swing. Most golfers, and especially those who begin the game as adults, pick it up and then continue to play by trial and error, rather than by formally learning one basic method.

  1. I’ve always believed the club should dominate you instead of you dominating the club.
  2. To me, winning by one is the same as winning by 10.
  3. Aim and alignment are by far the most important elements of the act of moving a golf ball from A to B. Rub the magic lamp, get the genie to give you any golf swing of your choice from history, and, if you don’t direct it correctly from the beginning, it still won’t reduce your present score by even one measly stroke.
  4. Even the gutsiest players learn they can’t try the hero shot all the time.
  5. You first have to see the trouble, then think positively about playing away from it. Some players might say they just “let it happen.” Well, you don’t ever just let it happen.
  6. I hold the club fairly loosely, but just before starting back, I press my hands together on the grip once or twice. I call this a “stationary press.”
  7. The harder I want to hit a shot, the slower I try to begin the swing.
  8. The fuller your backswing, the longer it takes to execute, which can help your tempo. Longer swingers, I’ve noticed, usually enjoy longer-lasting careers.
  9. I believe the Ryder Cup is an exhibition by some of the best golfers in the world, great entertainment and an exercise in sportsmanship, camaraderie and goodwill. The individual performances, good or bad, don’t determine who the best players in the world are. Nor does the side that happens to win determine on what side of the Atlantic the best golf is played. Too many people believe otherwise, and that helps make the matches too contentious among the teams and their fans.
  10. One of my lifelong checkpoints is to keep the shaft between my arms throughout the swing.
  11. Practice hitting as fully as you can without letting either heel lift at any point in the swing. This will teach you the proper way to shift weight by rolling your ankles, but most of all it will teach you the feeling of staying “centered.”
  12. I believe it’s impossible for me to hit too soon with the clubhead. When I need a through-swing thought, it’s most often, Release! Use the clubhead!
  13. Although I have great affection for the Masters, as far as pure golf I’d rather play in the British Open than any other event.
  14. Patience was always my strength. When a player says a course doesn’t suit him, he’s half beaten right there.
  15. On most courses, there are only five or six shots where you really need to pay attention and play conservative.
  16. When I putt, I hold my breath just before initiating the stroke to keep my head and body still.
  17. I visualize the putter shaft as being extremely limber, almost as flexible as a length of rope, which means the only way I can get the clubhead to swing truly is to stroke putts very softly.
  18. I know I have to make the putt. There is no alternative. It has to go in. That was my focus.
  19. I always like to have a couple of short 4s on my courses. They create variety and make the golfer think.
  20. With so much money in the pro game, conservative mediocrity sort of prevails. The goal is to make a good living more than it is to win. Yes, there’s a lot of depth in the pro game. If you took a large group of today’s players and put them against the group from my prime, today’s group would probably beat their brains out. But I think our four or five top guys, as a group, would have beaten the brains out of the players of today.
  21. It’s not that I wouldn’t get nervous, but I could always think straight under pressure. I know some people tend to go blank.
  22. On a second-shot course, you use the tee shot to truly create your second. This type of design happens to be my favorite.
  23. If you start with the club grounded, the natural tendency is for it to return to that spot at impact. In other words, you’re pre-setting a fat shot.
  24. I shot my age for the first time at 64 in Hawaii.
  25. I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp, in-focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie.
  26. The key to playing well is to first understand who you are as a person, and then manage that.
  27. I’m finding now, more than ever, that the game of a lifetime can give you the time of your life without ever striking a shot.
  28. I know I have to make the putt. There is no alternative. It has to go in.


11 Golfers Who Served In The Military

1. Billy Hurley III

Justin Rose Returns to World No. 1

There was more than a little bit of stumbling and fumbling along the way, but Justin Rose eventually claimed the Turkish Airlines Open title in a playoff with Li Haotong. The pair, two-thirds of the final group on the final day, had earlier tied on 17 under par over four rounds at the Regnum Carya Golf & Spa Resort on Turkey’s southern shore.

Which sounds pretty good only until a wee bit more detailed look at the leader board reveals Rose reached 19 under par after 70 holes. And that both men were 18 under on the 72nd tee. In other words, Rose, the defending champion and needing a win to get back to World No. 1, finished bogey-bogey; Li contented himself with a dropped shot at the last, taking four shots to get down from just under 150 yards. Pretty this was not.

And it got worse.

After watching Rose two-putt for par from roughly 25 feet on their second visit to the 18th green, Li settled down over his 12-footer for birdie and what would have been his third European Tour victory. Would have been. Never online, the ball missed low and left and, not insignificantly as things turned out, ran maybe a yard past. The second putt was … how to put this … awful. Really awful, the ball missing the cup by maybe an inch on the right.

The sad thing was, over their first 16 holes, both men had put on a terrific display. Yes, each rode his luck at times, but the general standard gave no hint of the carnage that was to follow. Li’s pars at the seventh and eighth holes had more to do with good luck than good judgement. Rose’s pitch to the par-5 12th was headed well past until it struck the pin and stopped a few feet away. And one hole later his tee shot was headed for oblivion in the right trees until it hit an unfortunate individual on the left knee (yes, Rose did shout “fore!”).

Otherwise, each played some terrific stuff. Li’s highlight was a 3-wood to the par-5 15th green that pulled to a halt no more than two-feet away, the resulting eagle hauling the Chinese player into a tie for the lead on 18 under par.

Rose was his usual clinical self—at least until his last two holes in regulation. Not one bogey and five birdies dotted his card to that point.

“There were moments out there where it looked like both of us weren’t holding our nerve very well,” said Rose, who picked up €1,166,660 for what was the first successful defense of a title in his career. He also moved to third in a Race to Dubai, although he cannot win that year-long race to go with his FedEx Cup title on the PGA Tour. For reasons he was loathe to reveal—“they will become apparent next year”—Rose said rather mysteriously that he will not be playing in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in two weeks.

“But this was a fun battle overall,” he continued. “And obviously I do have to spare a thought for Haotong. That was a tough way to finish. He hit a positive putt to try and win, but that 18th green is very tough. Getting back to No. 1 is something to be proud of. It doesn’t make you one under par on the first tee the next time you play, but it’s something to be proud of for sure.”

As for Li, who had started the day with a three-shot edge over Rose, even his broken English was up to the task of conveying exactly his understandable disappointment.

“It is a tough day for me,” said the 23-year old, who memorably outdueled Rory McIlroy down the stretch to win the Dubai Desert Classic in January. “I think I played well the whole week, but didn’t hole a few putts on the last and that was it.”

A little further down the leader board there were signs of redemption for two Grand Slam champions whose recent play has been more minor than major. Former U.S. Open and PGA champion Martin Kaymer’s closing 66, five under par and bogey-free, lifted the German into a tie for fifth alongside Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark, one shot head of Danny Willett.

“I played very well,” confirmed Kaymer, who dropped only two shots all week. “I could have made a few more putts here and there, but the game was really spot on this week. I think I gave myself enough chances, and I needed a good finish to get into (the season ending DP World Tour Championship) in Dubai. Hopefully that was enough. But I’m really looking forward to playing next week [when the European Tour plays its next playoff event in his native South Africa]. I’m very close.”

Former Masters champion Willett had less to say about his T-7 finish, but the Englishman, one of 20 in the 78-man field, must have been encouraged by his play after so long in the doldrums. In recording his third top-10 of the season and only his fifth on the European Tour since winning at Augusta in 2016, the 31-year-old Yorkshireman hit an array of splendid shots. As with Kaymer, only his putting let him down over the closing holes.

Which was a familiar tale at the end of an ultimately strange day.


Kevin Kisner: Combat Any Wind Condition With These Tee Shots

I’ve come to accept I’m not one of the longest guys on tour, so if I’m going to beat guys who are 20 to 30 yards longer off the tee—like I did at the 2015 RSM Classic and the 2017 Dean & DeLuca Invitational—I have to keep the ball in the fairway. My stats prove that. Heading into the British Open in July, I was 35 under par on approaches from the fairway between 50 and 175 yards. In the same range from the rough, I was 14 over. That’s a big difference. Being a solid driver means having more than one way to find the fairway. I’m going to teach you four, one for each type of wind condition. Pair the correct play with that wind, and you’ll be hitting your next shot from the short grass. — With E. Michael Johnson

With most tee shots, I start by determining where I need to drive it to leave the best angle into the green. Then I check to see how the wind might impact that plan and adjust for it. I struggle the most with a slice wind (coming from the left for right-handers), but my adjustments are to play the ball way up, off my left toe, and aim farther left than normal. The ball position and alignment help me start the ball on a path left of the fairway and, hopefully, let the breeze push it back into the fairway in the ideal spot.

Everyone loves a hole where the wind is at your back. To take advantage of that, I tee the ball higher than normal—with half of it sitting above the driver when I sole it. I also position the ball just off my left heel. The last thing I do at address is tilt my right shoulder slightly down and to the right. All of this promotes a higher launch angle, which gets the ball up and riding the wind. When I swing, I load up on my right side and then fire into the ball from the inside, trying to draw it for even more of a distance boost. If you do this, be careful not to get too much weight on your right side when you take the club back. It makes it harder to hit it so

We’re lucky we play mostly on firm fairways on tour; at least the ball will roll when the hole is into the wind. I play for that, trying to hit it 20 feet off the ground and chase it out there. At address, I tee the ball only an inch off the grass, play it about two inches back of my left heel and grip down a little on the driver. I also aim slightly left of the target, because the tendency is for the shot to squirt right as a result of the ball position—it’s harder to square the face. The swing keys: Keep your weight centered between your feet, and make a short-but-smooth swing back and through. The mistake is to lean forward and hit down on it to keep the shot low. That creates extra spin, killing distance.

I love when it’s coming from the right, because my natural shot shape—a draw—curves with the breeze and goes forever. With this one my setup is standard, but you might want to close your stance a little (aim your body right of the target) to promote an in-to-out draw swing path. The shot’s start line is important. I aim down the right edge of the hole so the ball will ride the breeze into the fairway. Note how I’ve released the club through impact. Don’t try to steer it into play. With this wind, just hammer it.


The clubs Cameron Champ used to win the Sanderson Farms Championship

Cameron Champ’s performance at the Sanderson Farms Championship proved he’s more than just a long-ball hitter. His four-shot win over Corey Conners, however, was built largely on his prowess off the tee combined with a deft touch on the greens.

For the week Champ averaged 334 yards off the tee, leading the field. Champ also picked up more than 5.5 yards off the tee in strokes gained/off the tee with his Ping G400 Max driver, albeit a backup that he had on site in his car after his gamer cracked shortly before teeing off Sunday. Champ’s driver has a 44.75-inch Fujikura Pro White TS 63x shaft tipped 1.5 inches and a swingweight of D-3.

At the other end, Champ displayed a nice touch on the greens with a Ping PLD Mid Tyne 4 prototype putter that is 34.5 inches with 2 degrees of loft and half a degree flat. Champ used the putter to roll in birdie putts of 10, 7, 5 and 38 feet respectively on holes 13 through 16 to boost his cushion to two shots after a slow start. Champ added a punctuation mark with one more seven-footer for birdie at the last. For the event Champ picked up more than nine strokes on the field in strokes gained/putting, ranking second. The PLD stands for Ping Lab Design which offers the opportunity for players to get putters that specifically meet their needs outside of production-run models. The Tyne 4 head is a mallet with wings in back for added stability.

What Cameron Champ had in the bag at the Sanderson Farms Championship

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV

Driver: Ping G400 Max (Fujikura Pro White TS 63x), 9 degrees

3-wood: Ping G400, 14.2 degrees

Irons (4): Ping i500; (5-PW): Ping iBlade

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50, 54, 60 degrees)

Putter: Ping PLD Mid Tyne 4 prototype



Remember Two Words For Better Chip Shots

Stop me if this sounds familiar. You set up to hit a chip. You’ve got your weight forward, the shaft leaning toward the target, and you’re playing the ball off your back foot. When you swing, you catch the ball super low on the face, and skull it across the green. On the next attempt, you gouge a chunk of sod behind the ball, and it goes nowhere.

This might surprise you, but although the results of those two mis-hits are very different, they’re often caused by the same mistakes. The first is the bottom of your swing is in the wrong place, and the second is the club is not interacting with the turf the way it’s designed.

The name of this page is Gimme One Thing, but I’m going to give you two things to think about the next time your chipping issues flare up. Remember the words bottom and bounce. What do they mean and how do they apply to better chipping? When you think bottom, your focus should be on getting the club to hit the turf consistently in the same place. For chipping, that should be slightly ahead of the ball’s position on the ground. You can help make sure that happens by checking your shirt buttons and nose at setup. They should be slightly closer to the target than the ball. I like to say, as the nose goes, so does the bottom of your swing.

The second word to think about, bounce, means how the club interacts with the turf. You want the club to glide along the grass, not dig into it. The leading edge and trailing edge of the clubface should contact the ground evenly. The beauty of this technique is that the swing bottom can be a fraction off, and you’ll still likely hit a decent chip shot. No one will be the wiser.

So set up with your weight favoring your front foot, the ball in the middle of a narrow stance, and your nose and shirt buttons slightly closer to the target. Now when you swing, focus on letting the leading edge and trailing edge of the club make contact with the ground simultaneously right below your nose. Fixate on that, and your body and arms will intuitively move to get the bounce just right.

You’ll notice that I’m relatively still with my body going back; it’s mostly an arm swing. I do that to make sure my swing bottom won’t change from where I want it to be.

And when I swing down, I’m letting my body rotate toward the target. This rotation guides the club through impact on a shallow approach. There’s no chopping into the turf; it’s the right amount of interaction between the leading edge and the trailing edge. One final tip: Keep your body rotating long after the ball is gone like I am here.

Next time you struggle around the greens, remember: bottom and bounce.

Golf instruction on the range is great, but sometimes you need help while you’re playing—stat! In his video series, “Bad-Ass Short Game,” Ritter tackles many of the issues regular golfers have around the greens and gives his unique—and bold—approach to correcting them.