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Foot Wedge

Rethinking Chipping Strategy

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I've gotten quite used to my chipping method, delofted PW with the ball a little back in my stance.  I just vary the length of my stroke to change the distance the ball is in the air before it lands and starts rolling.  But I started thinking, would it be a little more consistent to use the same stroke with different clubs in order to vary the distance?  Maybe this is the wrong answer but I wanted to toss this out there and see what y'all do.

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47 minutes ago, Foot Wedge said:

I've gotten quite used to my chipping method, delofted PW with the ball a little back in my stance.  I just vary the length of my stroke to change the distance the ball is in the air before it lands and starts rolling.  But I started thinking, would it be a little more consistent to use the same stroke with different clubs in order to vary how far the distance?  Maybe this is the wrong answer but I wanted to toss this out there and see what y'all do.

This can be restrictive because loft effects roll-out. Sometimes you might need to carry a spot on the green that might deflect the ball.

I would work on not chipping with the ball that far back in your stance. It just promotes duffing the ball.

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1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

This can be restrictive because loft effects roll-out. Sometimes you might need to carry a spot on the green that might deflect the ball.

I thought this may be a factor, thanks for confirming.

1 hour ago, saevel25 said:

I would work on not chipping with the ball that far back in your stance. It just promotes duffing the ball.

I was unaware of this.  I don't have it too far back, maybe a ball's length behind center, so I'm sure moving it up to the middle would be an easy adjustment.  Thanks for the tip.

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I might suggest you give the same stroke/multi club theory a try. See if you like it, and/or if it works for you. 

I use the same chipping stroke, that I use for my putting stroke. Even my grip, posture, and stance are the same for both. When I practice one, I am pretty much practicing the other. 

Ball position in my stance is the same, unless I have an uneven lie issue. Sidehill, downhill, and uphill lies as an example. 

I use different lofted clubs to take care of the distance required. I also "read" my chips the same as my putts. 

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3 hours ago, Foot Wedge said:

I've gotten quite used to my chipping method, delofted PW with the ball a little back in my stance.  I just vary the length of my stroke to change the distance the ball is in the air before it lands and starts rolling.  But I started thinking, would it be a little more consistent to use the same stroke with different clubs in order to vary the distance?  Maybe this is the wrong answer but I wanted to toss this out there and see what y'all do.

I know I've read that approach recommended by a number of people.  I think its certainly worth trying, it simplifies a portion of the game if you're always using the same length of chipping stroke.  You'll certainly need to practice in order to understand the variation in roll versus carry for different clubs.

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3 hours ago, Foot Wedge said:

I've gotten quite used to my chipping method, delofted PW with the ball a little back in my stance.  I just vary the length of my stroke to change the distance the ball is in the air before it lands and starts rolling.  But I started thinking, would it be a little more consistent to use the same stroke with different clubs in order to vary the distance?  Maybe this is the wrong answer but I wanted to toss this out there and see what y'all do.

 

I use less loft for shots of varying length, but only to a point.  I also adjust ball position depending on the shot. Up in the stance for a little higher shot and less roll, back in the stance for lower shots to get the ball rolling as soon as possble. I also have developed a nice little shot where I put the ball back in my stance and use my lob wedge, it is nice for downhill chips comes out lower but checks. 

Basically, I have seen people better than me that employ both methods. Go with whatever works for you and practice it.

2 hours ago, saevel25 said:

I would work on not chipping with the ball that far back in your stance. It just promotes duffing the ball.

Not sure I buy this.

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10 minutes ago, NM Golf said:

Not sure I buy this.

This is more around pitching than chipping, but still might be a good read for you.

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2 minutes ago, klineka said:

This is more around pitching than chipping, but still might be a good read for you.

I agree with the above post, pitching and chipping to me are two different shots. When I chip I put the ball back because I am looking to get the ball on the ground and rolling. With a pitch shot the ball moves up and I am letting the bounce of the club do the work. 

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1 hour ago, Patch said:

I use the same chipping stroke, that I use for my putting stroke. Even my grip, posture, and stance are the same for both. When I practice one, I am pretty much practicing the other. 

Ball position in my stance is the same, unless I have an uneven lie issue. Sidehill, downhill, and uphill lies as an example. 

I use different lofted clubs to take care of the distance required. I also "read" my chips the same as my putts. 

This is exactly how I do it too, and it works really well for me - I holed out again for birdie yesterday with a 54*. I just look at the green like I'm reading a putt. 

I briefly experimented by putting the ball back in my stance like the OP says but it was much too inconsistent. At least it was for me.  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

I know I've read that approach recommended by a number of people.  I think its certainly worth trying, it simplifies a portion of the game if you're always using the same length of chipping stroke.  You'll certainly need to practice in order to understand the variation in roll versus carry for different clubs.

1 hour ago, NM Golf said:

Basically, I have seen people better than me that employ both methods. Go with whatever works for you and practice it.

Sounds like there are multiple ways to skin a cat.  There's a course that has a good short game practice area that I may have to experiment on.  If I can get a feel for the rollout changes, that may be a little easier to account for than trying to feel how long my stroke should be on a particular chip.

@klineka that thread was pretty insightful regarding pitching.  Thanks for adding that in.

 

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20 hours ago, NM Golf said:

I agree with the above post, pitching and chipping to me are two different shots. When I chip I put the ball back because I am looking to get the ball on the ground and rolling. With a pitch shot the ball moves up and I am letting the bounce of the club do the work. 

Take more club (9-iron instead of a sand wedge, etc.). Chipping with the ball back promotes more shaft lean which promotes more leading edge which removes forgiveness and requires a more exact strike or else, as @saevel25 said, duff city.

I recommend chipping from the middle to slightly forward of middle. Use a little glide, even if it's still mostly the leading edge. If you need to hit the ball lower, take less loft.

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On 09/02/2018 at 3:06 PM, iacas said:

Take more club (9-iron instead of a sand wedge, etc.). Chipping with the ball back promotes more shaft lean which promotes more leading edge which removes forgiveness and requires a more exact strike or else, as @saevel25 said, duff city.

I recommend chipping from the middle to slightly forward of middle. Use a little glide, even if it's still mostly the leading edge. If you need to hit the ball lower, take less loft.

 

I agree with this , but would you deviate from this if the ball was sitting up a little, or the penalty of a sculled shot was very high? I tend to focus on the worst case scenario with chipping, and usually vary the stroke to try and avoid it (e.g. engage leading edge if ball is sitting up and there's a risk I'll just slide under it and not even make it past the fringe), although this does mean i need more shots in my game and precision will maybe be lower. 

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8 minutes ago, Moxley said:

I agree with this , but would you deviate from this if the ball was sitting up a little, or the penalty of a sculled shot was very high?

No. Putting the ball back tends to increase the chances of skulling the ball.

I mean, we're talking about two or three inches here. I've seen plenty of people blade the ball with it back in their stance. I still deliver plenty of shaft lean with the ball forward… just not quite as much, and not so much as to take away all the bounce/glide on my club(s).

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Not a short-game instructor by any means, but I can comment on the 3 methods I've been taught and practiced.

1.  Single club around greens - One instructor taught me to get comfortable with a SW to the point of it being a 'best friend' around the green.  Learn how to use it to cover just about any and every shot around the green.  The thought a simple approach to chipping / pitching.

2.  Using all club options from your most lofted wedge all the way down to 8-iron or even longer.  As in, Lee Trevino might even use a 6-iron to pitch and roll to a back pin 80' away.  The problem with this strategy is having enough practice time with ALL clubs to get up and down from a bunch of different lies and distances.  If you have the practice time and can dial in distances, probably a good method.  I do not.

3.  A 'blended approach.'  I've simplified my short game to two clubs. My most lofted wedge, a Vokey 58* M Grind wedge will go through any lie smoothly and produce consistent results.  My other choice when pitch and run is needed, I use a 45* PW.  If I want it to spin, bite with slow roll out, I'll put the ball back in my stance a bit and pinch it off a tight lie.  When more roll is required, move it up and hit it with little spin to get it on the green and rolling out.

The blended approach seems to work best for me.  You know ... KISS principle.

dave

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I've recently adopted the "Runyan" method for very short chips from dormant bermuda.  Not having the finesse to chip the ball 3 feet, or less, I simply putt with an iron or wedge.  The club is held vertically so that only the toe comes in contact with the grass and a pendulum stroke is used.  It is, by far, the most reliable shot I've found when short-sided, in dormant rough, and a few feet from the fringe.

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1 hour ago, dave s said:

The blended approach seems to work best for me.  You know ... KISS principle.

Basically what I do now.  I don't try to get fancy like the tour guys, if I've got space, I try to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.  If I'm short sided my 58* obviously has a lot less rollout so it's basically the same swing that stops quicker.  If your Vokey M-grind is similar to my RTX 2-dot, we seem to have a similar strategy.

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52 minutes ago, Piz said:

I've recently adopted the "Runyan" method for very short chips from dormant bermuda.  Not having the finesse to chip the ball 3 feet, or less, I simply putt with an iron or wedge.  The club is held vertically so that only the toe comes in contact with the grass and a pendulum stroke is used.  It is, by far, the most reliable shot I've found when short-sided, in dormant rough, and a few feet from the fringe.

Roger Fredricks has a video on You Tube titled "swing drill the putt chip" (chip putt?) that shows Runyon's chipping method. The grip he shows is pretty unique.  

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I'm sold on Paul Runyan. I have a few caveats. These are more about thoughts than actual experience at this point.

  • Practice time for each different club.
  • Runyan's grip and chicken wing arm posture.
  • Roll out distance for slope and stimp speed.

Practice time for each different club

I tried to do this but could not find the practice time for every club. Last year, I went back to chipping a wedge with dreadful results. I can read greens and putt out of my mind. This way of chipping is an attractive idea, but who has the time?

This winter I bought some One Length Irons. I had two reasons. The rule of 12 Chipping is the number one reason, second, last year my seven iron was the only club I had that was worth using. Best case, it solves all my problems. Worst case is I now have a bag full of 7 irons. I'd still have one good iron. Either way I have a bunch of chipping wedges.

Every club chips in the basement with nearly the exact setup and stroke as my putter. I'm not sure what these clubs will mean once the snow melts. In the basement, I'm placing three coins at random distances, pick up the balls, move the coins, and repeat.  I'm looking forward to spring to measure run outs.

This chipping technique, it's like night and day, the difference these clubs make compared to variable length.  At least it does in the basement.

Runyan's grip and chicken wing arm posture.

Maybe this is a great thing and I just haven't given it a chance. I have I putting technique that I believe in, and that just looks wrong.  Maybe something different needs to be done with variable length irons.  With these one length irons. I set up like a putter and grip it the same distance to the floor as my putter.  Same place on the grip, same swing mechanics.

Instead of Runyan's grip, my hands are perpendicular to the target line like the putter grip but with the shaft up the life line, but with more forward lean. It's leaning against the left forearm. I guess it's legal to anchor a club against your forearm.  Eyes in the same position as the putter, for me, under my left eye. Except for the forward shaft lean, the club is nearly vertical.  With the heal off the floor, there is very little difference between what I can practice inside, carpets and chipping mats.  Once I got the technique, I could change clubs, or hit the rough part of the chipping mat or fairway part. 

Anchoring against my forearm goes a long way towards consistency. I think that makes up for not having a putter grip on your irons. Near vertical is easier to hit strait on your line.  It's just like putting, but with more shaft lean.

When I got the technique down, every one length club feels the same. Slight differences for me. It's like you have a left arm that goes all the way to the ground and you're hitting with the back of your hand.  One important thing to know is where each iron actually points. I got one of those magnetic pick up tools from the hardware store for half the price one of those magnetic alignment tools. 

With the One Length Irons, any iron I practice is every iron in the bag. For a high handicapper that earns a living sitting at a desk, that's huge.  I'm not sure how this will play out once I get outside again. Right now my estimate is that for every minus these clubs give me, chipping with these is two pluses. Even if my full swing is a bust, I'm no worse with the irons than last year.

Like putting, I have no excuse for not being a chipping monster.  Anyone can do both chipping and putting well.

Roll out distance for slope and stimp speed

I think there are faulty arguments against this system. If you hit a putt in your basement and it goes 10 feet, you have the same problem, anywhere else it won't go 10 feet.  Your technique and your clubs are different than mine. Both of our 7i could roll out the same on level but do something up and down hill. We have to figure it out for ourselves.  My basement is not long enough to figure out run outs.  

I did my putting practice last year with a stimp meter, and plan to do the same for chipping with this method. Instead of thinking in terms of feet roll out for a stroke, my first thought is how far would a stimp meter go and break on this part of the green.  If it's 1 stimp away to the cup any where on the green, that is the same effort as 1 stimp away in your basement.  Instead of distance in feet, I see the putt as units of stimp.

For putting, I learn to be a human stimp meter. Read the fall line, read the slope, estimate units of stimp. My mind is either in my basement practicing 6, 10 or 14 footers or imagining the practice green lagging putts to a series of tees a stimp apart.  Every putt is a strait line on level surface with no break, no hole is further than two feet is ever the actual target.

Logic says a chip run out should vary the same way a putt varies from different parts of the green.  If I pick my run out target based on what that effort would do on perfectly flat then it's just a matter of hitting the landing target with the correct club. Your just hitting a landing zone, club selection is lagging it to the hole. If the lading zone is 10 feet to the hole but it would putt like 15 foot, then select the club that takes it 15.

I don't think you need to be doing insane green side calculus. I think you could pick likely lading zones say 5 and 10 foot, get your distance for your longest, shortest and middle club for each landing zone. Then see how the middle club is effected around the green. Next time, change the clubs and write down those distances. If you know the extreams then you can guesstimate the middle.  If you know your base distances for your likely situations you can put that on a card in your back pocket.

 

 

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