In this series, PGA professional GRANT HEPBURN demonstrates some of the key concepts in refining your technique.
When it comes to getting a good feeling for the correct chipping technique, one of the best tips I’ve ever come across is to use the idea of practicing your chipping stroke using a broom. This may sound like a cunning trick to get you to do more housework, but that sweeping motion you employ is similar to what you should be using for those short shots around the greens.
Let me explain it all in a little more detail, with some images to illustrate.
So many amateur golfers struggle with chipping because they can not resist the urge to flip their hands at impact and try to scoop the ball into the air. The result, unfortunately, is often a chunked chip or a shot that rolls up the clubface, coming off with very little spin or control.
In this instruction tip, I’ll first run through the correct chipping technique and then I’ll show you how your broom will help you achieve it.
Getting it right
In the set-up for a chip shot, note how I have the ball a little back in my stance, with my weight favoring my left side.
My head remains over the ball but my hands are slightly ahead of the ball, resulting in the shaft leaning towards the target. This set-up encourages a sweeping motion through the ball.
As I take the club back, my weight continues to favor my left side and there is a small amount of wrist hinge. This helps with feel and control because if you were to hold your wrists firmly in place through the swing, the motion would feel a little too wooden and lifeless.
As I start my downswing, I shift my weight a little further on to my left side, which ensures my hands stay ahead of the clubface through impact. As long as my hands are ahead of the ball and I make contact with the ball first, the loft of the club will be enough to get the ball up quickly, with spin and control.
During the followthrough I allow my body to turn naturally, with my arms facing the target.
The broom drill
The beauty of practicing with – or visualizing – the broom drill is that it helps with a number of the set-up fundamentals I mentioned earlier. Because the handle of the broom is quite long, it encourages your hands to stay forward, with the ball positioned slightly back in your stance.
Start by making a similar length backswing to the one I demonstrated in the correct chipping technique, ensuring your weight is favoring the left side (for right-handers).
As you make your downswing, your swing thought should be to try to brush or sweep the ball away, with your hands ahead of the ball. This is crucial, as I see so many amateurs trying to scoop the ball by flipping their wrists, something that is not necessary as the loft of the clubface will do it for you.
I want you to focus on that feeling of pulling the broom through as you brush the dirt forward – you really do not want to flip the bristles past the handle and scoop dirt up into the air. If you brush the ball away towards the target, you will be forced to turn your body or else the long broom handle will hit you in the side.
The key to this tip is to match the feeling of setting up with the broom and sweeping the ball away when it comes to your on-course chipping. Keep your head down, your hands ahead, then brush down and forward to compress the ball and get it to pop into the air.
– Hepburn has been a regular face in Compleat Golfer for more than a decade. His CV includes time coaching on the European and PGA Tours, and an impressive list of top amateurs and pros. He is the CEO of Golf RSA and the South African Golf Development Board. Follow him on Twitter @granthepburn.
– This article first appeared in the February 2022 issue of Complete Golfer magazine. Subscribe here!