Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Long Chip

Harvey Penick advised that, when you didn't have time to hit the range before a round, you make sure to hit a few chips and pitches. Doing that will quickly get you the feel of striking the ball properly and, as Harvey pointed out, the full shot is really just a long chip.

Harvey also felt that the best way to learn the game was from the green back to the tee. If you learn to hit solid putts, then chips, pitches and half shots, learning to hit the long shots will be much easier. And, even if it isn't easy at first, at least you have learned the short shots, which are the scoring shots. Banging away on the range is of much less value than time spent honing your short game, because most amateurs waste more strokes from 100 yards and in than anywhere else. Show me someone who can chip and putt and I'll show you a guy who can score--provided they can get the ball in play from the tee.

I have found that viewing the full shots--even with the driver--as nothing more than long chip shots has begun to really help my game. If you are struggling with your ball striking, try working on your short game and try to hit half or three-quarter shots until you are consistently striking the ball solidly. It's great to hit the long ball, but a solid, accurate strike is what we all want. Two hundred and twenty yards in the fairway beats two hundred and eighty yards in the woods pretty much every time.

When you watch the top pros, it is amazing how far they hit the ball with such little apparent effort. That's because they've all learned to hit the ball with the sweet spot of the club. And that is best learned before you start swinging for the fences. Greg Norman said, "If you can't hit the driver, (or any other club for that matter) don't." Hit the shots you know you can hit.