A Lesson Learned: Chipping when wet

Chipping in the rain
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A strong short game under wet conditions could give you a great advantage.
Brian Conley, PGA

Problem Area: Short Game
Series: Lesson Learned

Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012 | 9:55 p.m.

Once again, inclement weather plays a part on the PGA Tour - this time leading to a Monday finish. One of the beauties - and challenges - of golf is that it's an outdoor game. Wind, heat and rain are all part of what makes this great game such a great challenge.

Congratulations to Sergio Garcia, a well-earned win that will mean we'll see him in the playoffs and Ryder Cup.

I read last week's "A Lesson Learned" from PGA National Teacher of the Year Mike Malaska and his words on playing on "soft" conditions were, of course, right on.

I'd like to share one other tip about playing on a wet course, one that I saw employed some this week at the Wyndham Championship, and one I think could help most golfers.

Not long ago, one area that I really needed to improve on was my short game when conditions were "soft." Think about it, how many times have you, or someone in your group, chunked or bladed a chip when playing on a wet course? I know I've done it, I'd bet most of you have too.

When you are chipping under normal, dry conditions, the bounce of your club adds an element of forgiveness. Under "soft" conditions, your club is more prone to dig in to the ground, thus creating the "fat" shot - or you get so wrapped up in avoiding that "fat" chunk, you end up blading the ball - and watch it scream over the green into who knows what. Neither are very fun or helpful to your score.

So how do you avoid these? You avoid it by "hitting the ball first" - but not "hitting the ball only." Maybe explain not to "pick" the ball cleanly. Go ahead and be aggressive with the stroke.

Play the ball just a touch further back in your stance, for me that means about half a ball further back. Again, this ensures you contacting the ball first. Then take a little extra lofted club - perhaps a sand wedge rathern than a pitching wedge or a lob wedge rather than a sand wedge - " and close the face a little. " Take this out. The delofting of the shot comes from playing a touch back in the stance. Don't want to close orshut down the toe at address and through the shot. May even add about addressing the ball more closely so that the heel is slightly off the ground at address too.

Now, very importantly, the same fundamentals of the short game still apply. Keep your hands in front of the ball and always moving left (for right-handed golfers). Your club can and should contact the ground - only it will after you've hit the ball.

The ball will come out lower but will check up for you - I'd suggest practicing this shot to get a good feel for your distances. But this technique is easy to implement into your game and will help you lower scores when playing on a wet course.

Good luck! Come visit us out at Legacy on Lanier to test your game under all (and beautiful) conditions. 

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