Is Your Chipping at a Crossroads?
By Keith Stewart, PGA
One aspect of his Matt Fitzpatrick's talent set is his short game.
Matthew Fitzpatrick has some serious history at The Country Club. The 2013 US Amateur champion is at it again on these historic grounds. The young Englishman has a perfect game suited to take home the trophy this weekend.
One aspect of his talent set is short game. Watch this quick video from Thursday’s first round.
Did you see his hands? If you didn’t notice something was different, please watch it again. Matt Fitzpatrick chips cross-handed! If you struggle with blading and chunking your close shots around the green, this is a technique you should try. Deceleration is a mortal sin when it comes to chipping and pitching. Slow down your pivot (turn) and those arms get antsy.
Next thing you know the club hits the ground early or not at all the ball goes flying. For most amateurs, these misses stem from an overactive trail hand. A solid way to stop that extra motion is to create better movement with your other arm. Cross-handed putting is one of the most effective ways you can correct a little bump at the ball.
That method will work similarly with chipping. Get that lead hand lower than the trail hand on the grip and follow these specific steps.
- Once you take your cross-handed grip make a couple of casual swings back and through the hitting area. Get a feel for the new hold on the club.
- Pay attention to where the club brushes the grass. If you continue to bottom out behind the ball, it’s time to get that lead hand moving.
- Feel the back of that lead hand accelerate toward the target. Stopping or stalling in the swing is what causes your issues. Once you start the club toward the ball from your transition, keep that hand moving through.
- Make sure you feel like the lead hand is past the ball at impact. It won’t really be that far ahead, but it will feel that way.
- Continue to swing that lead arm around the body until the ball is long gone and heading toward the target.
The beauty of this technique is that it keeps the body turning. For any amateur who lacks the proper motion, cross-handed swinging will help. The goal of all shots is to accelerate through impact. Self-doubt and inner demons get us all. Implementing a method to move makes sense. Even if you just use this as a training drill, it will help your motion.
Put this into practice and pay attention to the results. Fitzpatrick and the field are competing under the most difficult of conditions. Getting a feel that leaves you more comfortable around the green is a tremendous key toward better scoring.