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Week 7/ How to Pitch and Chip

Week 7 we started delving into the short game. This is perhaps the most important area of the game as this is where we can save the most shots. Adam has fairly good technique for someone who has never looked up how to correctly chip. He has some good basics such as keeping his swing short for a shorter shots as well incorporating a little wrist hinge and keeping his hands forward at impact.


The pitch and the chip are very similar. The technique that I incorporate has in fact changed in the last 5 years as before I was very much a hands driven chipper. I used to advocate always having the hands forward of the club at set-up and then keeping the hands forward all the way to the finish. Body movement was quite small with the chipping action. I have since moved away from keeping the hands too far forward at set-up and then through to impact because it can increase the risk of the leading edge of the club digging into the ground. The more the hands are forward, the more you run the risk of hitting it 'fat' or 'thin' by exposing the leading edge.


You can though still do this technique but it's just a higher risk. What I advocate now as mentioned in the video is really using the bounce of the club effectively therefore minimizing your risk of digging the club into the ground. During set-up I firstly put 60% of my weight on the front foot with the ball position in the middle of the stance and the hands only just forward of the clubhead. I keep my hands only just forward as now I want to utilize more of the bounce of the club. The bounce of the club is defined as the angle that is created from the front of the clubhead to the back of the head. A wedge usually has around 10 degrees of bounce.


The benefits of using the bounce is that on even your mishits, you might hit the ball 'thin' but the result can still work out well. It reduces the chance of the club digging into the ground. In terms of the motion, I try and have my arms fairly close to the body and really feel that the action is governed by the turn of the body and not overusing the hands. As I outline in the video I just say to myself just turn your body on the backswing and then turn your body through on the through swing. I also incorporate a little wrist hinge on standard shots but with higher shots, I would increase my wrist hinge.


Another important aspect to chipping is rhythm. The best way to establish great rhythm is once the technique is established, ensure your grip pressure is around a 3 out of ten, (10 being the tightest you can hold it) Also with every chip and pitch, ensure the speed of the swing is always the same. The only exception would be really short chips where you could grip lighter and have the body move a little slower.


The best drill to start judging distance is have some witches hats lined up out in front of you at the 10m, 20, 30m, 40m and 50m and practice hitting those targets. Firstly start at the 10m and work your way through. What I do to judge distance is use body parts as references. For example I take the hands back to knee height when hitting the 20m distance and for the 50m target I take the hands to my hip level. One important aspect to note is whatever distance I take the club back on the backswing, I must swing through at the same distance on the follow through. This will ensure consistency.


Lastly in terms of the clubface, you could have the face square to the target or slightly 'open' (facing to the right). The face being square to the target will have less spin versus the face being open which will tend to create more spin. When first trying this technique, I will typically start with the student having the face open as when it is open, it also increases the bounce of the club and thus reduces the chance even more of the club digging into the ground at impact.


The biggest aspect that I changed with Adam was in his set-up. I ensured he had his hands only a little forward of the clubhead with his weight 60 % on the front foot. In terms of his action I just encouraged him to turn his body back and through as he already incorporated nice wrist hinge.




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