Keep It Simple: It Really Comes Down to the Short Game
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Hitting it longer off the tee is great, but for the majority of amateur golfers, their short-game ability is going to play a much more pivotal role in improving their scores.
What it comes down to with chipping and pitching and a golfer’s comfort executing these shots is this...you must keep it simple and try not to do too much.
For chipping, you will need to set your body up with the feet close together and ever so slightly open to your target line. You will need to lean into your lead leg, with your weight distribution around 60% - 40% favoring that lead leg. The ball will be positioned just back of center and I advised to use a less lofted club such as a pitching wedge, 9, or 8 iron. The idea here is a shot that has more run than rise, meaning it gets on the ground quickly and rolls out to your target.
For pitching, widen your stance a bit and open to your target line a little bit more. Your weight distribution will be more 50% - 50%. The ball position will be more towards center. In this scenario, your rise will be more than your run, meaning you are carrying the ball more towards your target. You should select a more lofted club such as a 52-, 56- or 60-degree wedge. That club selection all depends on the distance necessary to carry the ball to your intended landing point.
For chipping, you will focus on moving the triangle that you create with your arms hanging down and your shoulders. Simply rock that triangle back and through at an even and consistent tempo. No manipulation of your wrists or hands is needed. You must stay very steady with your body as it maintains that 60-40 weight distribution. There is no body rotation, just the rocking of that triangle. Fight the urge to look up to see what the outcome is until a few seconds after impact. Looking up too early may cause the clubhead to move up as you look up and poor contact at impact will result.
For pitching around the green, you will use the rotation of the body, with the feeling of the arms, and club being very connected to the body, as the driver for the shot. You will rotate your body back and through to your finish. Your hands and club will exit slightly left as your body rotates towards your intended target.
Brendon R. Elliott, PGA
Brendon Elliott is considered by his peers in the industry as one of the top youth golf coaches in the world. He is a multiple, local, state, regional, national and world award winning instructor with a focus on junior golfers ages 3-18. With numerous appearances on Golf Channel's Morning Drive, local TV, nationwide radio and countless publications, Elliott is one of the foremost experts in the youth golf arena. His Little Linksters 501c3 nonprofit is recognized as an example for introducing children as young as three to the game as well as how to help introduce youth with disabilities to our golf. Elliott has been recommended by industry titian's such as Nicklaus, Player, Floyd, Sorenstam, Speith and more. Among his numerous accolades, Elliott was named the PGA of America's 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award Winner in 2017.