quick coaching

How to Hit Chip Shots Like a Contender

By Keith Stewart, PGA
Published on

Joaquín Niemann during the final round of 2022 The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.Getty Images

Going into the Genesis Invitational the world’s best players knew their short game had to be sharp. Riviera traditionally plays as one of the most difficult spots on tour. Specifically, players have a very difficult time hitting greens in regulation. This leads to a strong reliance on your short game to contend. Two of the very best this week both share some simple principles that allowed their game around the green to propel them to the top of the leaderboard.
Champion Joaquin Niemann chipped in for eagle early in the back nine on Sunday on the Par 5 eleventh hole.
Not to be outdone in their Sunday duel, Cam Young matched the young Chilean on the fifteenth hole with a super pitch of his own for birdie.
What’s most interesting from a PGA Coach’s point of view is how similar these two performed these two perfect shots. Both players have different golf swings and very different body types.
That’s the beauty of short shots, if you can repeat a couple very simple steps, you can chip as well as the champions. Look at both videos. Their takeaways are almost identical.
  • Both men keep their head very steady. Look at their hats. They barely move even as the club head reaches about waist high in the backswing.
  • The “V” formed by both arms holding the club hanging down from their shoulders takes the club back. Not the hands and wrists. The torso turns and that “V” swings the club.
  • The clubface position is the same for both of them. The toe of the club doesn’t over rotate. It keeps the club face at the same angle as their spine. That’s a very important move.
Chances are if you just implement those three keys your short game shots will improve. Certainly, the contact you get on the ball will be much more consistent. As they are making contact, both Cam and Joaquin are looking ahead of the ball. Go back and look at the caps. By releasing their eyes ahead of the impact spot, they are committed to turning through the shot.
Too many amateurs keep their head fixed well past impact. This causes the body to stop turning and the club to go into the ground. Try this when you practice. Allow your eyes to look past the ball and toward the target side of the ball as you approach hitting it. You’ll be amazed at how well you can follow through when you do.
Speaking of the follow through these two share, notice how the shaft of the club stays out in front of their naval. It doesn’t go flipping by because the wrists are too active. The clubhead is also not a mile behind because they drag the handle through first.
Everything works together and that’s the most important point of all. With all the differences in build and full swing look how similar these motions are. Copy these five quick principles and your short game will get some social media posts of its own!