Tips from a Pro

Today’s tip is brought to you by Dan Harrington, PGA Head Professional at Meadow Park GC in Tacoma. Dan has been a golf professional since 1995 and has been with Meadow Park Golf Course since January 2004. He is the current Western Washington Chapter – PGA Vice-President. His prior experiences at Bear Creek Country Club, The Course at Taylor Creek, Fairwood Golf & Country Club & Meridian Valley Country Club have enabled Dan to continue his passion for the game of golf though player game development and tournament programs.

Leave the “Scooping” to Baskin Robbins

Most of us already know that a good short game translates into lower scores on the golf course. One of the most frequent short-game faults I encounter while instructing players of any skill level is the “scooping” of the club on chip shots. The result of this motion is frequently a heavy, chunked shot that finds the ball finishing half-way to the hole. To eliminate this in your short game, try swinging down on the ball to generate height in your chips by using a simple drill.

First, place a ball on a good, even lie and position a driver headcover about a foot behind the ball.

Then, using a pitching or gap wedge, take your normal address but make sure your hands are positioned ahead of the club head and the ball is back in your stance. Hit a chip shot of about 15-20 yards, avoiding contact with the headcover on the back or forward swing. This produces a more downward ball-then-grass strike, a higher flight, and frequently a little more backspin “check” action.  Your backswing length should enable you to easily accelerate the club head down and through the ball, producing the proper flight and spin.

Finally, to achieve more feel with this new steeper downswing approach, try chipping without a glove and/or decreasing the grip pressure of both hands by a third. As a reminder, use a less-lofted club on an upslope lie, and more loft on a downslope lie. In all situations, your hands should always finish ahead of the ball at impact.

For more overall game improvement assistance, be sure to consult your local PGA Golf Professional.

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